The Vicar's Letter (written by Reverend Malcolm Grant, vicar of St Mary's Church in Eaton Bray) has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002
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Vicar's Letter

May 2007

Reverend Malcolm Grant, vicar of the Church of St Mary The Virgin, Eaton Bray with Edlesborough.

May brings round the annual Christian Aid Week Appeal, with its public events and house-to-house collections. I have no hesitation in asking all FOCUS readers to be generous in their response. We hope that our collectors will call on every house in our villages during the week 14-19 May, and you will find an envelope for this collection with this magazine. And remember, if you are a UK tax payer, you can make your gift worth 28% more by completing the Gift Aid declaration on the envelope, thus enabling Christian Aid to reclaim the income tax you paid on that gift.

Christian Aid is the arm of the churches of our land, reaching out to help victims of natural disaster, war and poverty across the world. The churches themselves provide a world-wide network of contacts through which Christian Aid is able to work directly with local people in each situation, and so avoid almost all of the political corruption which blights so many good intentions for relief among the world's suffering people. Money given to Christian Aid gets to the people who actually need it.

Christian Aid works with the other relief agencies to bring help to disaster victims, and your gifts can help to ensure that assistance is ready when there is an earthquake, hurricane or devastating flooding in a country whose economy and infra-structure cannot cope with such large scale need. It also works in many Third World countries, mainly in small localized projects, to improve agriculture, create sustainable local industries, and to undertake development projects such as the provision of clean water and hygiene facilities. Such simple provisions can transform people's lives and open up totally new possibilities for those for whom survival is a constant struggle.

There is an old saying among the native peoples of America - "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for life". That is a fundamental principle for the work of Christian Aid: it sets out to give people the knowledge, the skills and the basic equipment they need to take charge of their own future survival, and to give them that basic human dignity of being able to care for themselves and for their families. Some years ago, Christian Aid coined a slogan which has stuck ever since - "We believe in life before death". That's what your response this year can give to some of the world's poorest people.

Jesus told a story (Matthew 25, vv.31-46) about the final judgement, when people were separated, some to his right hand and some to his left. Those to the right were commended for the kindness they had shown to Jesus, feeding him when hungry, clothing him when naked, visiting him when sick. When they asked "Lord, when did we do this for you?" he replied, "whenever you did it for one of these, my brothers and sisters, however poor, you did it for me". I hope that reminder will encourage us all to give all the help we can afford to those who have so little.

May our generous and loving God bless our generous acts to bring joy and hope to others.


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About the Vicar's Letter

The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.

The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the area for these.