For understandable reasons, it is perhaps possible that the Bishop’s Lent Appeal might not have been top of the recent priority list for many charges, especially as they contemplate their own financial issues in these difficult times. However, a number of churches (and individuals) have been asking what is happening about the appeal.
Clearly, the work of Glasgow City Mission (GCM) is urgent and ongoing, and I copy below a message from Jack Geddes, who made such an eloquent presentation at our Diocesan Synod on 29th February.
Beneath that are the arrangements we are putting in place to facilitate the Appeal for those individuals and charges who still feel able to contribute to the wonderful work offered by GCM.
I’m writing to update you on how Glasgow City Mission is continuing to serve the homeless and disadvantaged in Glasgow during the COVID-19 crisis. We thank you again for making us the beneficiaries of your Lent Appeal and we want to assure you that the proceeds are vital to our work in these difficult times.
After the announcement on 23 March that the UK should go into ‘lockdown’ we took the painful decision to close our building in Crimea Street in order that our guests did not congregate and put themselves at greater risk of catching the virus. At that time we also made the decision to furlough some staff in order to protect future employment as best we can. All staff who are not furloughed are now working from home.
At the heart of what we did was concern for our guests. We have nearly 600 people on our database and we set about contacting all these people by phone. We knew that some didn’t have phones so we purchased mobile phones where required and gifted them to our guests. We also purchased top-up cards for others. It is extremely important that we keep in touch with guests who have mental health issues and addictions so calling, Skyping and Zooming have replaced our one-to-one meetings. Through Zoom we also hold regular Bible studies and we get groups together for social chat – some of our ladies made pancakes, following instructions through a Zoom connection. We have also continued our Gathering at 2pm every Friday. Normally our version of a church service takes place in our building but these Gatherings have been broadcast live on our Facebook page. We have had hundreds of people watching, singing, praying and hearing the Word through these weekly events. Communication is essential and is on-going daily with our guests.
Food and supplies are also essential. We have a simple and effective process in place now. We get deliveries of food to our building where a member of staff takes the food in and sanitises it. The food is then bagged and put on crates. A delivery schedule is created and all on the schedule are called to advise we’ll deliver that day. Once the crates are ready our staff member leaves the building before a colleague arrives to put the crates into our van. This second colleague then makes the deliveries. When they arrive at each address they call the recipient, agree where to leave the bag then wait till the bag is collected before moving onto the next address.
In addition to using our database, we continue to react to referrals from the public, partner agencies, through our website and social media. We are making new connections that we trust will lead to positive new relationships in the future.
All through this crisis, we have seen our God continue His work through Glasgow City Mission and we thank Him for that. And again, we thank the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway for your support and we send you our love in Christ.
Marketing and Fundraising Manager
Glasgow City Mission
So, whilst acknowledging that many charges have financial concerns of their own just now, and realising that a response might not be immediately possible, we’re hoping that many are still keeping Glasgow City Mission very much in their hearts, minds and prayers – and that they might be able to consider ways and means of forwarding any monies they are able to collect for GCM with immediate effect and to continue sending further monies as they come in. The needs of GCM are current and ongoing, so instead of waiting for a ‘final figure’, the Diocese plans to transfer any received donations electronically on a weekly basis for the present, and will announce a final figure later in the year. In the meantime, therefore, if at any time you have any Lent Appeal money to send, either on behalf of a charge or in a personal capacity, it can be done in the following manner:
Electronic Transfer by BACS to the following account details:
Sort Code: 83-41-00
Account Number: 00162089
Please use the reference Lent20 and your quota number for ID, and also email Iolanthe Stack at email@example.com to confirm a donation has been sent, and from which charge it has been sent. Iolanthe will acknowledge receipt by email. If you are sending a personal donation, use Lent 20 and your surname for ID, again copying in Iolanthe for information, and she will reply to confirm receipt.
Cheque Payments should be made payable to Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, and sent to me at my home address below (not the Diocesan Office), with a note to confirm the name of your charge and your contact details. I will forward them by post to our bank and acknowledge receipt by email to your Treasurer, copying in Iolanthe. Send cheques to:
Bishop’s Lent Appeal
c/o John Mitchell
73 Balmoral Drive
I’m aware that many charges receive Lent Appeal donations in cash from members using Lent Boxes or similar. At St Margaret’s, we have stressed by postal and email communications that for those members who can only contribute this way, they should not worry! We will, we trust, be able to collect and collate these donations later in the year. However, we have also encouraged people to empty their cash out, keep it for themselves, and send cheques to us instead, or donate by electronic banking – and to do so as urgently as possible (making clear their donations are for the Lent Appeal). So far, the results have been encouraging, and we plan to send off an initial donation next week, with others to follow later in the year.
In the ‘Virtual Office’ that the Diocese is operating at present, we hope that others can do the same!
I hope that covers everything, but please feel free to contact me with any queries, and to copy Jack’s message above to members of your congregation.