Our church is active in many areas of outreach. Some of these are mentioned below:
Our Christian Aid support has both been maintained and expanded during this last year of fund raising. Door to door collection has diminished but the sums of money raised for this cause have increased by organising plant stall sales, the sale of hand-made cards and an Afternoon Tea Party was enjoyed by many within our church.
Elmhurst Care Home
Since the early spring services have been led by our Minister and supported by members of the Eldership at the local Elmhurst Care Home. These services are proving popular with the residents and their staff of carers who join us for the service there. We are continuing to develop relationships with the residents who despite being frail have maintained their faith and join in with enthusiasm with the hymns sung. All who participate are enjoying the experience, whether those who are organising the service or the residents participating.
Our church currently has three representatives on the Churches Together in Bishop’s Stortford Forum, and one member of the congregation who is the Christian Aid representative is an Associate Member. We at Water Lane have offer our premises as the venue for the joint service on Good Friday each year. We have members of our congregation who help at Holiday Bible Week and attend other activities arranged by Christians Together in Bishop’s Stortford.
Campaigning for economic justice continues each year. The issues include at the moment the Big Shift – instigated by Christian Aid whereby campaigners are encouraged to email their bank and tell them how important it is that they scale up their investment in renewable energy, to help fight climate change. Climate change is impacting developing countries to a large extent , the well-known Christian charity Tearfund is encouraging small-scale farmers to use the technique of Foundations for Farming by protecting and preserving the moisture content of their soil by replenishing it, with no ploughing, by using mulch cover from leaves and plant materials. Tearfund continually encourages people to campaign on action to reduce climate change. Other issues being campaigned for include pressing the government for greater transparency by multi-national companies as to the profits accrued in developing countries and by paying the appropriate amount of tax in that country of origin.
Via the Global Justice Now (formerly the World Development Movement) first steps have been taken to stop food speculation. After more than three years of campaigning by this organisation and allies across Europe, the EU agreed legislation to introduce limits on financial speculation on food and other commodities and to improve transparency. Barclays, one of the UK’s biggest player in food speculation and one of the top three globally, announced that it will no longer trade in food for speculative purposes.
Commitment for Life
Our United Reformed Church has a national fund raising programme called Commitment for Life – it involves us being linked this coming year with a new partner. After many years of supporting Palestinian farmers and the unique difficulties of that troubled area we have now decided to support partners in Central America namely in Guatemala, Nicaragua , Honduras and El Salvador– via Christian Partners working in the field. Education, tax justice, malnutrition and climate change issues are some of the problems we will be learning about in greater detail and sending financial support to combat these situations.
Our WEBS pastorate (West Essex and Bishop’s Stortford) comprising Clavering (Church of England, the Methodists and United Reformed Church), Saffron Walden & Newport, Stansted Free Church (Methodists and United Reformed Church) and Water Lane Church in Bishop’s Stortford meet for occasional worship together and for joint Bible studies in the summer and autumn of each year. The leaders of the churches meet together for mutual support and there are opportunities for joint social events too.