Ever year we raise money for a particular charity, known as the Church Project. Usually the support runs for a year, alternating between a home and an abroad project, but sometimes it runs for two years. Events such as concerts and the Spring Fair are the main fund raising activities, but a good variety of events and activities happen each year as well as money from donations given for after-service refreshments. If possible, a representative from the charity comes to speak to us during the year and is invited back to receive the cheque for the year just after the project's end.
In addition ten percent of the money received in offerings during services is given to church-related charities, usually about £5000 annually. Our Rainbow Cafe raises over a £1000 each year for Action For Children. Collections at Christmas services are also used to support an appeal, for instance £912 raised in 2016 for Christian Aid.Project for 2019: Sue Ryder - Duchess of Kent House
Notes: 2014 included £1300 from the Woodley-wide show "To Jerusalem" and 2005 included two bequests. Total 2000-2016 £77252. In addition we raised money for other uses, such as a new organ in 2006.
Both in the Methodist Church and later in the joint Church special projects with fund raising events to support them were proposed from time to time. These were in addition to collections for and giving to causes that were supported on a regular basis, such as missionary work, NCH (National Children's Home), Christian Aid and so on.
The Casa Materna home in Naples was suggested for 1980. One particular boy, Fabbio, was supported for that year, during which time two church members, Mr Maurice Smith and his wife Hilda, were able to call and see him while on holiday and Rev Bernard Arnold and his wife Ruth also visited him and took him a geometry set, which proved an ideal present as he was about to move up to a new school and needed one. In 1983 it was reported this raised £260.
In 1981-1982 the project was the Berkshire Council on alcoholism. This concern was brought to the church by Mr David Clitheroe, a church member who, because of his work as a probation officer, was very aware of social problems.
In the year to April 1983 the Sue Ryder Foundation was chosen, the home at Nettlebed being of immense value to both patients and there families. On this occasion £275 was collected, stated to be lower than hoped, blamed on giving for the new church building fund. Sums have increased substantially in later years.
From May 1983 the project was the troubled area of Toxteth in Liverpool, with Revd Bernard Arnold having a connection via the minister there.
No project was recorded for 1984, perhaps because of the concentration on stewardship.
When the Church finances were (for the immediate future) secure, with support for work elsewhere budgeted for, there seemed no need for special fund raising efforts, such as Spring/Christmas Fairs. This was thought to be a discouragement to those who had talents in organising or making goods for bazaars. Also it was less easy to visualise where the money was going, especially when the local churches were being asked to give to Overseas Missions work in general, for fear that ear-marking money for one project might disadvantage others. The church decided that there was room for a special project each year, which any or all church organisations might support. Members were free to suggest projects to the church meeting.
In 1985 the project was Windmill for Kenya.
For 1986, which was considered a busy year, no project was adopted. The church did explore the possibility of joint action with a local church with particular needs since the Methodist Church was advocating support for poorer churches under the title "Mission Alongside the Poor". Whitley Hall Methodist Church was approached and eventually as a result of conversations a House Fellowship was set up. The people of Whitley Hall did not feel that financial help was appropriate.
The following year the Royal Berkshire Hospital Cancer Care Appeal, launched in anticipation of the hospital's 150th Anniversary, was supported. One of the fund raising efforts was a cookery book "The Good Cook Book" containing recipes from church members collected by Margery and Geoff Sargent.
Other projects followed: for 1990 two Leprosy Centres were proposed, Uzuakoli and Lesotho. Since it was impossible to choose between them a two year project was agreed and raised £2450 shared between the Centres. In January 1991 Mike and Claire Meachin, the leaders of the Uzuakoli centre visited Christ Church. Part of the fund raising was on a grander scale than in previous years in that a Grand Bazaar formed one part of a Festival of talents held from 13th to 21st of April 1991. An exhibition of arts and crafts was staged on 6 days for which the Christ Church family provided over 160 exhibits. Some craft workshops took place during the exhibition. Songs of Praise on the Tuesday, Sketches, songs and readings from Mannafeast on Wednesday, a concert with contributions given by many young people and a few not quite so young took place on Saturday with coffee and cakes for those who needed reviving on Saturday and a Barn Dance on Saturday. We were all able to give thanks on Sunday for the fundraising, the hard work and the fun of the venture.
1992 was a chance to support the drugs rehabilitation program at Yeldhall Manor, just a short distance up the A4 from Woodley.
The projects continued in alternate years supporting an overseas project in odd years and a UK project in even years. This included charity work in Africa and Asia, beds for a local hospice and other UK charities. In 1997 three UK charities were supported equally including the Southampton disabled basketball team and the proposed new church in west Reading.
The church celebrated Harvest on 25th September, with our supper the evening before. During the harvest service money raised through the "Grow Your Talents" scheme was dedicated. Money raised supported our two charity projects: the school in Rabare, Kenya, and the women's training fellowship at Chiaquelane, Mozambique. Other events throughout 2005 also supported these projects, such as our Spring Fair and Christmas Craft Fairs, and concerts such as "The Perfect Day Concert" in July and that on 10th December with Berkshire Young Musicians and the New Elizabethan Singers.
The charity project being supported by the church was Christian Community Action (CCA), who provide furniture and fittings for needy members of Reading's population. There was a visit to their Oxford Road shop and warehouse on Friday 3rd March 2006; progress was seen in recovery from their arson attack. The annual model railway day was on April 23rd 2006 (and raised some £70). The Spring Fair was on Saturday 13th May 2006. The various stalls, music, games, refreshments and so on raised over £1000 for CCA. We had a concert by the Reading Male Voice Choir with soloist Lori Tingay on Saturday 9th December 2006 in aid of CCA, which raised about £600. The project continues to raise money for CCA in 2007 as they settle into their new warehouse home. The Line Dancing Evening on 17th February 2007 raised £125 and the Pancake Evening on 20th February 2007 raised £175 and our Spring Fair raised over £1100. More than £6500 was raised over the two years. If anyone has good used furniture they do not need, then contact CCA, who can collect.
The charity project we supported in 2008 was Compassion who promote sponsoring the education of children overseas. Steve McTegert from Compassion UK visited our morning service on 13th January and introduced their work. The child we are supporting is Suellen Feliciano aged 10 from Brazil. The Spring Fair on 10th May raised £840 for the project and more was raised at the Banner Dedication service on the 11th May. Another £160 was raised at the after fair sale at the Pagoda in Woodley Precinct. The young people's car wash raised more. The concert by Reading Male Voice Choir and St. Joseph's School in December raised £#163;790. The total raised was £3685.
The charity project we were supporting in 2009 was Action for Children's (formerly NCH's) Young Carers scheme. The first event was line dancing on 21st February. The Spring Fair on 9th May raised £1189.96. During the summer we were running Grow Your Talents, where members tried to convert £5 into as much money as possible using their talents; nearly £2000 has been raised, including the filling of sweet pots and the over £100 raised at the Celebration of Talents Concert on 19th September 2009. Five Voices presented "A Dickens of a Christmas" on the evening of Saturday 12th December 2009, which raised another £200. The total raised was over £4800.
The charity project we were supporting in 2010 was the Wesley Guild's charity, the Nigeria Health Care Project (NHCP). Jenny Benfield, a former teacher in Nigeria and trustee of NHCP was at our morning service on 28th March 2010. The Pancake Evening on Tuesday 16th February raised £146.50. It ran from 17:00 to 19:00 to end in time for the Woodley Lent Groups launch meeting in the church.
Our Spring Fair was on Saturday 8th May. It raised about £950. Also over £180 was raised at the following sale at the pagoda in the precinct. A Junior Church cake sale on 20th June raised £44.10.
The Summer Concert and barbecue on 17th July also raised about £150 for the project. It was put on to say farewell to Andrew Emison and family, as Andrew left us in August to take up ministerial training in Durham.
The Countdown Evening on 4th September raised £72 and the Beetle Drive on 26th September raised £60. We held a silent auction in the church on Saturday 20th November from 2:00pm to 4:00pm (this was like an off-line version of an ebay auction). Gifts of produce, craft, unwanted gifts, vouchers and services had been donated and raised £630. This took the total raised for the project to £3600.
Jenny took our service on 13th March 2011 and accepted the final cheque for £4163.
The charity project we were supporting in 2011 was the REinspired who provide RE lessons in local schools. We were raising money to help buy books and resources to help with the lessons. The first event was the Pancake Evening on Tuesday 8th March which raised £132. The annual Church Spring Fair was on Saturday 14th May and it raised nearly £1000. We also had a Scrabble afternoon, a Beetle Drive and a Christmas Concert by the Lower Earley Salvation Army (which alone raised over £200). The total raised was £2500, the balance of which was presented to Linda Galpin at our morning service on 29th January 2012; in return Linda explained some of the work going on in Woodley schools.
Our charity project for 2012 was Tools for Self Reliance and to the end of May over £2000 (including tax refunds) had been raised.
Pancakes were served on the evening of Shrove Tuesday, 21st February, before the Woodley Lent Group launch service, which started at 20:00 at Christ Church. £265 was raised which paid for seven kits of tools to be shipped to Malawi.
Countdown came to Reading! On Saturday of Easter weekend, 7th April, there was a Countdown in Reading competition at Christ Church. It was won by James Robinson from Huddersfield and raised over £350 for the project. Results
The big event as always was the Spring Fair, on Saturday 12th May, and this raised over £1000 in cash on the day, through sales, refreshments, games, singing, car wash and so on.
There was a concert with the Thames Valley Barberettes on Saturday 14th July which raised over £310.
A concert by RMVC, with a choir of girls from St Joseph's School, was held at Christ Church on Saturday 8th December at 19:30. Tickets raised £750, taking the total raised in aid of Tools for Self Reliance to nearly £4000.
It was decided that our Church Charity Project for 2013 should be the Reading Branch of The Samaritans. The first major event supporting this was Pancake Day from 17:30 to 19:30 on Tuesday 12th February 2013 in the Lower Hall. This raised £215. The Spring Fair on Saturday 11th May 2013, with the usual variety of stalls and entertainment, raised over £1000. The total raised was nearly £4200 and was presented to a representative from the Samaritans at the morning service on 23rd February 2014.
It was decided that our Church Charity Project for 2014 would be Mercy Ships.
At the morning service on 23rd February the congregation were shown Mercy Ships "Love Is" video.
The first fund raising event was the Pancake Evening on 4th March which raised £226.
The next events were "To Jerusalem" which raised £1305, Countdown in Reading which raised £225 and the Spring Fair on 10th May also raised over £1300.
Photos of "To Jerusalem" dress rehearsal on Martyn's Facebook
£3500 was presented to Ken and June Brazier, representatives from Mercy Ships, at our World Church Day service on 18th May. The service was followed by a lunch talk on the subject.
Jill Draper joined in the circuit pilgrimage in August and walked 117.5 miles around all the churches of the new Basingstoke and Reading Circuit; she raised £660.
The concert by Reading Male Voice Choir featuring Rachel Baker raised over £600.
The total raised by the end of the year was a tremendous £6250.
Following on from our Woodley Poverty Forum in 2013, our Church Charity Project for 2015 was Christians Against Poverty, who work through churches against poverty, especially through their debt advice centres.
The Countdown in Reading tournament on 11th April raised £255 from the 24 players; winner for a second time in a row was Jack Worsley from Blackpool.
The Spring Fair on 9th May raised over £1100, the summer concert by Woodley Concert Band on 6th June over £580 and there was a concert by Revd David Jenkins, called "Music to Discover" on 5th December.
It was decided that our Church Charity Project for 2016 would be the Mityana Charity who are a locally based charity that works through the churches in Mityana, a poorer area of Uganda that other charities have largely been unable to support. The provide educational support, water solutions, community building and training. At our service on 17th April, World Church Sunday, Revd Hugh Wakeling told us more about the important work of the charity and invited members to join him on his autumn trip to Uganda.
The Countdown in Reading tournament on Saturday 26th March raised about £200 from the 16 players; winner was Thomas Cappleman, formerly of Bracknell.
The Spring Fair on Saturday 7th May raised nearly £1400.
Early in the year £2000 was transferred to the charity and they were able to start work immediately in July on building much-needed latrines for Mpiriggwa C/U Primary School (see photos below). At the A440 concert a further £1400 was passed on which will be used to replace the water tank at Myanzi Prison.
It was decided that our Church Charity Project for 2017 was Alzheimer's Research UK. A recent record amount of £8500 was raised through the Spring Fair, Countdown, concerts by A440, Reading Male Voice and church members, and many other events and activities.
It was decided that our Church Charity Project for 2018 was Christian Blind Mission, raising over £6000 and for 2019 Sue Ryder - Duchess of Kent House.
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Page last updated 13th February 2019.