CHURCH COLUMN: We wish we could have helped those who broke into our church

Worshippers preparing for their Advent Fair on December 2
Worshippers preparing for their Advent Fair on December 2
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The Rev Andy Wilson, the vicar of Christ Church Portsdown, on the aftermath of a poppy day theft

As The News reported last week, Christ Church at Widley was recently broken into and the contents of the Royal British Legion poppy collection box taken.

While it was distressing to see damage to the church building, we have been greatly encouraged by the response.

People with little or no connection to the church have given donations to ensure that the British Legion has actually received more than it would have otherwise.

The church congregation was sad to hear what had happened, but is also concerned for whoever it was that broke into our church. It is often a position of desperation that lies behind such an act.

Contrary to the suggestion given by The News headline, I didn’t describe them as ‘despicable’ – that was someone else’s word. We wish we could have helped these desperate people in another way.

Christ Church tries to help those facing difficulties in a number of ways.

The Christ Church Portsdown Good Neighbours Scheme receives several hundred calls for help each year. Whether it be someone to get the shopping or a lift to a doctor’s appointment, our volunteers seek to provide support to people who live in our locality.

We host a monthly lunch which provides a hot meal and good company for a reasonable price for anyone in our community.

We can’t do everything ourselves. So every week we collect food for a food bank, clothes for a women’s refuge and church members even knit woollen hats for sailors from overseas. At Christmas we will collect Christmas presents for families in need and young people in a local hostel.

There is nothing unusual in all this activity. Churches all over the country will be carrying out similar activities. Many will be doing much more. We do all this because we believe that every individual is valued by God and should be valued by us.

Our next major activity at Christ Church will be our Advent Fair on Saturday, December 2 from 12pm to 3.30pm when we will invite members of our local community to join us for a few hours of entertainment, pre-Christmas stalls and space for a few moments peace. Everybody is welcome.

•Christ Church Portsdown, London Road, Widley. Tel: (023) 9237 5360. Main Sunday service: 10.30am.