Call to pray for Christians Against Poverty

ALL four bishops in the Diocese of Oxford are encouraging congregations to pray for Christians Against Poverty – a charity that has helped thousands of people out of debt and countless more to manage their finances.

John Kirby is filmed at CAP’s Bradford offices. Photo: CAP

Around 14 million people across the UK are living in poverty, according to the 2017 Joseph Rowntree Foundation Poverty Report. Of those many will be struggling to make ends meet and are likely to be desperate to escape from a vicious cycle of debt.

The award-winning Christians Against Poverty was founded in 1996 by John Kirby. Since then it has developed a growing national network of debt centres and expanded its services to tackle the causes of debt. It helps people tackle addictions, learn life skills and find work.

The charity’s hard-hitting story will be told in a gritty one-hour documentary highlighting the plight of clients and how it is helping them get back on their feet. The Debt Saviours will be broadcast on BBC 2 on Friday 5 October at 9pm.

The Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester, said: “Christians are called to help alleviate poverty and we know how the gap between the rich and poor is growing in the UK. I urge people in our parishes to pray for and support the vital work of Christians Against Poverty at this time.”

In Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, there are several CAP centres. Lizi Bowerman became a regional manager for CAP for the South East after being helped to get debt free through Oxford’s CAP centre. Lizi and her husband Juan had been forced into debt due to court fees from a custody case relating to Juan’s previous marriage. Read their story here: oxford.anglican.org/getting-staying-debt-free/

CAP prayer resources can be found here. Read a blog about The Debt Saviours here.

Below are some of the CAP projects in our diocese:

 Oxford:

Oxford’s CAP debt centre has been running for just over four years. The partner churches are St Clement’s, St Matthew’s, Cowley Community Church, Headington Baptist Church and Emmanuel Church. Wheatley Community Church, Cornerstone Church and Magdalen Road Church are associate partners. The Oxford centre is keen to see a CAP Lifeskills Group or a CAP Job Club start.

Chipping Norton

Mark Burbridge is the debt centre manager and worships in Churchill and Kingham. The branch was set up and continues with the support of St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton and the Chipping Norton Community Church. The Revd David Salter says: “In Kingham and Churchill we support Mark in prayer and sometimes we give financially to the work too. We are hugely encouraged by what CAP does, both nationally and locally. We understand its work  is part of God’s work, bringing restoration to people’s lives, financially and spiritually.”

Witney:

Witney CAP Debt Advice Centre was set up five years ago and one of the sponsoring churches is St Leonard’s, Eynsham. Three members of the congregation are befrienders, going out with the debt coaches on visits and befriending some of the CAP clients. Five members of the congregation are also qualified to run the CAP Money course, and the church has run eight courses over that period.

Didcot and Wallingford:

The Revd Andrew Petit is Vicar of the Cholsey and Moulsford Benefice. He says: “We are one of the three founding partner churches of the Didcot and Wallingford Area CAP Debt Centre which has been running for nearly four years (and since expanded to include four more churches).  This has been a very successful inter-denominational venture.”

The Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey from Harwell and Chilton added: “Our two churches (Harwell and Chilton) have partnered with several others in the Didcot and Wallingford area to run a CAP Debt Centre. We also regularly run CAP Money courses.”

Reading:

Dino D’sa trained as a CAP Money Coach in November 2017. He first ran a CAP Money Course in January/February at St John’s and St Stephen’s Church which attracted around 14 people. He is now set to run a version of the course for students at Reading University.

St Agnes with St Barnabas runs a life skills course in a community centre and supports CAP as a mission partner. They connect with Reading Vineyard and its CAP centre and would like to become a CAP centre in its own right in due course.

Slough:

St Paul’s Church in Slough has a CAP Debt Centre and runs the CAP money budgeting courses from time to time. At Christmas volunteers from the centre put together seven hampers to help clients through the festive period. oxford.anglican.org/hampers-provide-relief-impoverished-families/

Twyford

Christians Against Poverty is one of St Mary’s Twyford’s five mission partners and the church supports the charity financially.