St Columba’s has collected 230 boxes of Christmas presents for children in poor countries.
Our church has supported the annual shoebox appeal for 10 years, and 2009 was no exception.
Operation Christmas Child is a project run by British charity Samaritan’s Purse. Last year, over 1.2 million presents, gift-wrapped in shoeboxes, were sent from the UK to children in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, regardless of their background or beliefs.
St Columba’s Church sees its mission in showing the love of God as he is known to us through Jesus Christ. By enabling children in impoverished parts of the world to experience a little of the joy of Christmas, we are able to fulfil part of our mission. The boxes are packed full of such gifts as dolls and cuddly toys, balls, toy cars, coloured pens and paper, combs, toothbrushes and paste, soaps and flannels, sweets, gloves, scarves, sunglasses, and jewellery.
In a service held on Sunday 22 November, the congregation watched a short DVD, showing the work of Operation Christmas Child, and how much these gifts mean to children who in some cases have never had any presents before.
Junior Church Coordinator, Mrs Shirley McKay, spoke of the huge difference between our world in North East England, where everything is available to us from supermarkets on our doorstep to running water in the home, and other parts of the world where unavailability is the daily reality.
Next week, the boxes will be taken to the local collection point in Byker, before being loaded onto lorries for the long trip across so many countries.
In the same week, the church had raised over £1,000 at the Christmas Coffee Morning organised by its ladies’ group, HANDS, for children’s charities Smile for Life and ME North East; and its associated Scout Group, the 4th Tynemouth (Congers), had raised £265 at a coffee evening for Children in Need.
Also in the morning service, some of the church’s children and young people performed a puppet show, with the characters miming to the song “Reach out to God”.