St Mary’s Mission Partners
At St Mary’s we support a number of individuals and projects looking to share the life-changing love of Jesus with others, both in the UK and abroad.
We're pleased to be a Tearfund “Connected Church” with our chosen project, ZOE. ZOE stands for Zimbabwe Orphans through Extended Hands and provides help to some of the many orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe.
Zoe encourages churches to take responsibility for vulnerable children and, because of their place at the centre of a community, they are able to identify the children and households most at risk, but often they just don’t know how to help. When a church leader approaches ZOE for help with caring for orphans, they first ask the pastor to gather all the church leaders in the area. ZOE staff then envision the leaders together about the biblical message to care for orphans.
The leaders go back to their churches and share the vision. They ask those in their congregations who have a heart for orphans to become volunteers. ZOE then trains these church volunteers to visit and support families who are caring for orphans.
“Connected Church” means that, together, we at St Mary’s receive regular news about ZOE’s work in Zimbabwe,and have the opportunity to pray in an informed way for ZOE, and we also support ZOE financially as well. We have already donated £12,931.31 from our church missions giving, special collections and Zimbabwean-themed events to ZOE and we have committed ourselves to do even better.
It is our prayer that all of us in our groups and individually will take ZOE ‘on board’ and will look actively for ways in which we can help.
Click here for our latest news:
Responding in a Time of Crisis (Response to Cyclone Idai)
Discovering New Opportunities (Update on Patience)
What can I pray for?
Please pray for ZOE’s volunteers. They regularly visit households of orphans and vulnerable children and monitor different livelihoods projects to help families flourish. Pray that each volunteer remains energised, and does not get tired or discouraged by challenges, instead finding strength and courage for all that they do. Please pray for stability and a revival of the economy.
You can get to know more about ZOE by visiting http://connected.tearfund.org/en/partners/zoe/
St Mary’s partners with the charity Open Doors to support and serve persecuted Christians who are living out their faith in countries where to do so can be dangerous, illegal or life threatening. In over 50 countries, Open Doors is supplying Bibles, training church leaders, delivering Bible-based literacy programmes and supporting Christians who suffer for their faith. In the UK and Ireland Open Doors works to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and action among Christians. Open Doors' core belief is that trust in God’s faithfulness is central to having the courage to persevere as a persecuted Christian – and it’s central to our work as we serve them. St Mary’s is now a Partner Church with Open Doors, and recently welcomed Open Doors' Coen Van Wyk to speak to us. Open Doors provide some great resources which you can pick up from the back of church. This year we gave £3,000 to Open Doors to be used where the need is greatest.
For the latest news visit https://www.opendoorsuk.org/news/stories
What can I pray for?
Pray for safety from attack for Christians in Nigeria as the election period looms, and for any Christians persecuted or in imminent danger around the world.
You can also sign up online for their prayer diary and other updates here: http://opendoorsuk.org/pray/
FAITH INITIATIVES AT LONG LARTIN PRISON
This is an exciting opportunity to support Rev. Stephen Blake in his prison ministry at the local Long Lartin prison and to be able to provide some much-needed resources to the Christian outreach to prisoners. The hope is to see men with troubled pasts being transformed as they come to faith.
In the last year we've provided nearly 60 Bibles to Long Lartin prison. Chaplain Rev Stephen Blake explained to me why the Bibles are so popular:
"All the bibles and study bibles you kindly supplied us over recent months have flown off the shelves into cells across the jail now. I had a long chat today with Shaun, one of our Christian lifers, who explained why the study bibles are so useful – it’s because many of our men do their individual bible study after lockup, when they can’t ask for help about difficult verses from friends & chaplains, but can get immediate guidance from a study bible. He said they are absolutely invaluable and was so grateful, because it’s a resource they’ve never had before. For the record, these are all given out on a long-term loan basis – they are stamped up that they must be returned when the men move on to other jails so we can keep circulating them here. The hope is that our guys will buy their own when they have got in the habit of using them."
As well as the study Bibles, we've also supported the chaplaincy at Long Lartin in providing Christmas gifts of Scripture-based coasters for each of the men who came to Christmas day worship at the jail. These were gratefully received, as the Chaplains at Long Lartin have no budget from the Prison Service for these sorts of items.
The latest news can be found here.
What can I pray for?
Pray for those in prison, that through the provision of bibles they will come to know the living Christ who can comfort and heal them and bring them peace plus a new perspective on life.
Innovista works to identify and develop young leaders - in their twenties and thirties - to bring hope to their communities with the Christian faith. Leadership development involves a range of initiatives including training, coaching, mentoring and a wide range of service projects with a focus on areas that are under-resourced. By 2020, their vision is to train 2,500 leaders a year who will bring the hope of Jesus to 250,000 people every month. This year we gave £1,000 to Innovista towards their general project funding.
Mary Smith, who works for Innovista, recently came back from Kiev, Ukraine: "I met with some of the National Directors from Moldova, Ukraine and Central Asia. It was so inspiring to hear about the pastors that they are training and the impact they are having. One church in Chisinau, Moldova, did some Innovista training and developed a vision and a strategy for their youth work. They started out with 15 youth from the church, who wanted to get their friends into church. They decided to run Youth Alpha. Fifty young people came AND THEY ALL CAME TO FAITH!!!! We know that when leaders get stronger, their teams and their mission activities have more impact."
What can I pray for?
Pray for Mary as she inspires supporters, builds authentic relationships with them, and helps them to understand the impact of their giving.
You can get to know more about Innovista by visiting https://innovista.org/