Cromer church’s 40 acts of kindness during Lent
2017: Cromer Parish Church did Lent generously this year, and reached out to the wider community with simple acts of kindness spanning the 40 days of Lent. Tony Rothe reports.
Many of the parishioners from Cromer Church signed up for the ‘40acts’, a generosity challenge created by the charity Stewardship, which encouraged participants to do at least one different act of kindness each day of Lent. As well as doing individual acts, Cromer Church organised a weekly ‘generous’ act to encourage their parishioners to stretch their faith, connect with their local communities and make a difference.
The acts included packing bags at Morrisons supermarket, giving out free chocolate bars, encouraging shoppers to support their local foodbank, praying with people on the street, giving out free Easter eggs and just being available to listen to peoples’ stories.
The response from the public was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. They were genuinely touched by the simple acts of kindness and generosity. They loved the fact that the Church valued them and was willing to make a personal connection. After receiving a chocolate bar and a ‘because you’re loved’ note, one lady was inspired to donate some of her furniture to the local foodbank community store and a gentleman at the tennis club bought coffee for his friends.
The people of Cromer have also been extremely generous and willing to give. One ‘act’ at Morrisons collected the same amount of food donations in 4 hours that would normally take 2 weeks. One shopper bought a bag full of items to donate and said how much he valued the foodbank scheme as it really helped him when he was in crisis. He said, 'They are brilliant, so this is my act of generosity and a chance to give something back'. Cromer Church actively works in partnership with Morrisons to support this vital community initiative and seeks to combat poverty.
Simon Fenn, Head of Mission at Cromer Church said: “This year for Lent we didn’t give up - we gave out! I’ve been particularly encouraged by the willingness of our church family to get involved and step out of their comfort zone. One volunteer said, ‘It was a bit challenging putting your faith on the line but the lovely responses from people made it worthwhile and rewarding’. Another commented, ‘It’s been brilliant and a bit scary, I’ve loved it! People have really appreciated the simple acts of kindness and knowing that they are valued’.
“The 40acts Challenge has had a positive impact on all involved and is an excellent initiative that enables us to develop stronger links with the wider community and demonstrate God’s love in practical ways. Next year, I’m keen to build on what we have started and get more people involved from both the church family and community.”
Stewardship’s 40acts challenge has grown in popularity since the Christian charity first launched it in 2010. This year over 100,000 people world-wide were on a 40-day mission to positively impact their local communities, notching up an estimated 2 million generous acts. The challenge continues to astonish the team behind it.
Debbie Wright, Head of Content at Stewardship said:
“Every year more and more people choose to do Lent generously, and use generous acts to demonstrate their faith in the lead up to Easter. We never cease to be amazed at the creativity and kindness that we see, as people start to share their stories on social media. It’s great to see Cromer Parish Church taking up the challenge and making a generous difference to the community of North Norfolk.”
To find out about other activities at Cromer Church, visit https://www.cromer-church.org.uk/
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