Mission is at the heart of our St Mary’s Church Family. We donate 7.5% of our annual church giving to our 5 Mission Partners. If funds allow, an additional 2.5% is given towards the end of each financial year.
Our Mission Partners are: B@TITUDE: a shop in North Leatherhead, which sells quality “as new” children’s clothes and equipment but which also provides Christian love and support to the wider community, one of the most socially deprived in Surrey; HAPPY CHILD: founded by a member of our church family, Sarah de Carvalho, which is a charity that rescues street and “at risk” children in Belo Horizonte and Recife, Brazil. It ran a very successful high profile campaign leading up to the World Cup in Rio in 2014, raising awareness of the penalties of underage sexual exploitation; INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION, a worldwide organisation that was founded: to protect those in developing countries from violence, to bring criminals to justice, to restore survivors and to strengthen justice systems. Terry Tennens, the Chief Executive of IJM UK joined our worship recently and spoke of IJM’s remarkable and challenging work; KAMPALA CHILDREN’S CENTRE, Uganda: provides a safe and loving family home environment for some of the country’s most desperate and vulnerable children who have suffered as a result of war, HIV/Aids and poverty. As a church, we have established close ties with KCC with members of our church travelling to Uganda every year and we host members of the KCC Destiny Choir on their regular visits to the UK; SOTERIA TRUST: founded by Rev. Andy Economides, is a charity which provides education for vulnerable children and young people in Ibadan, Nigeria, and strives to bring people to Christ both in the UK and Nigeria.
In addition, we provide food parcels to the Salvation Army in Guildford on a weekly basis and some church members prepare hot food once a week. At Harvest, we donate food and toiletries to B@titude and the Salvation Army.
Our Mission Committee meets every six weeks and its members share updates from our Mission Partners. Mission Committee aims to respond proactively to the needs of our Mission Partners both financially and practically. As the need arises, we try to respond to requests for mission support from within our own church community and to make recommendations to the Parochial Church Council.
Mission needs are also addressed more generally within our church: the PCC recently lead an appeal in aid of the Syrian Refugee Crisis and our women’s group, Heart and Soul, supports the LeatherHEAD Start project with food donations
Mission is alive in St Mary’s.
Happy Child International is a local Surrey based charity founded in 1992. Its vision is to rescue and rehabilitate children and teenagers from the streets and from situations of social and domestic risk, re- integrating them back into family and community. The work was started 22 years ago by St Mary’s member Sarah de Carvalho MBE in the southern city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil where it is now locally run and locally funded. In 2007 Happy Child moved its operations to Recife, north east Brazil, a city where the commercial sex trade is thriving and which has become second only to Thailand for the exploitation of young girls. Happy Child has now established a centre for young vulnerable pregnant girls and their babies who have got caught up in this evil trade. The centre creates the space in which these traumatised and emotionally disturbed girls, with their babies are offered new opportunities of education and life skills to break the cycles of poverty and violence, helping them to realise their full potential. To read more about Happy Child International, please click on the web link below.
Founded by the Rev. Andy Economides and based in Emsworth, Hampshire, the Soteria Trust provides education to needy and vulnerable children and young people through the Prospect School and the Soteria Business School, both in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Soteria Trust also strives to bring people to Christ across the UK and in Africa.
Andy has been a friend to our congregations over many years and has regularly joins with us in worship and prayer.
Kampala Children’s Centre
Some time ago, members of our congregation visited this centre which was created for orphans of war, of AIDS and of other terminal illnesses in Uganda. The centre was founded by Bishop Arnold Muwonge, who has an international ministry preaching and fundraising in the UK, Belgium and the USA. Those of us who have visited KCC in the past would be utterly amazed to see the developments that have taken place over recent time. To date 12 houses have been completed and fully occupied. The centre has a fully functioning kindergarten of 450 children, populated by children from the centre and from the surrounding area; many who are sponsored. A large primary school is in the process of being completed, plus a separate building which houses a sizable kitchen, dining hall and events/conference hall on the first floor which has already been completed, and soon to be furnished. Elsewhere on site, ground is being cleared in preparation for the building of a large secondary school, located at the top of the hill (this will be called the Stride Academy). In addition to all of this , a medical centre is to be completed this year to meet the needs of the growing number of children in the centre, at school and in the local community. St Mary’s financial support has contributed to all this development at the Centre, in addition to the building of a well to provide fresh water to the centre some years ago. Five years ago, KCC formed Destiny Africa Choir made up of gifted children from the centre and supported by some of children sponsored by KCC in the local community. The Choir has toured the UK, Belgium and the USA, twice over the past four years, performing in Parliament, at No 10 Downing Street, at the UN building in New York, the Ugandan Embassy in Brussels and recently in front of the President of Uganda.
B@titude is a Christian charity committed to loving and serving the community of North Leatherhead through their shop in Kingston Road. Here they sell quality “as new” clothes and equipment for babies and children at very reasonable prices, provide a comfortable environment for coffee and snacks, as well as a small play area.
B@titude has established a faith group for some of the mothers and in 2015 our congregations raised funds to enable members of that group to attend a weekend of spiritual renewal in Bristol.
International Justice Mission
St Mary’s congregation members were first introduced to IJM at the Willow Creek conference in Bracknell. IJM is a Christian human rights and social justice agency that secures social justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression all around the world. IJM’s work is founded on the Christian call to justice articulated in the Bible in Isaiah 1:17 “Seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow”. IJM international conducts casework in the following areas: slavery, illegal property seizure, sexual violence, sex trafficking, citizenship violations, illegal detention, police brutality.
Salvation Army, Guildford
We support the local Guildford Salvation Army in very practical ways, mainly through weekly food donations, but also through individual church members cooking food and helping at the Salvation Army drop-in centre for the homeless and the many single parent families each Friday. This very practical support is much appreciated, particularly the cooked meals, the companionship, the help and advice plus supplementary food parcels which are a real life saver for many. In addition to this, half of our Harvest Festival offering goes to the Salvation Army each year and warm clothing, blankets and tents are donated during winter weather. This relationship is very much mission in action as the connection is entirely practical and relational The ongoing support and involvement of St Mary’s members does make a tangible difference to this local Guildford based outreach programme in the care for homeless people and those fallen on hard times.