Yesterday we went up to my parents to help out with their contribution to their churches Christian Aid collection. Like many churches, they have struggled with the traditional Christian Aid week collections, where in the past envelopes have been delivered to every house in the parish, and then these have to be collected. As most people who have been involved in a collection like this will tell you, it is actually a lot of work for a comparatively small return. Many people fundamentally don’t like being door-stepped anyway, and therefore don’t really like doing it to somebody else.
Anyway, after a few years of shaking tins in the local shopping centre instead, which also didn’t produce that much, their Church decided to try something different. Each of the families in the Church were asked to come up with an idea to raise about Â£20. One family decided to give up something for the duration of Christian Aid week, and put the money into the collection. Other people have held coffee mornings, whilst Mum and Dad decided to hold a Trains and Teas afternoon, where Dad and a friend Peter who in charge of the local 16mm group would run trains for the afternoon, and Mum would provide teas. Myself and Beth went along to provide extra pairs of hands with the trains and teas respectively, and Beth also provided extra cakes.
Sadly, the weather was not exactly very good. Peter brought along a gazebo, which kept the water off the visitors, however you can see quite the volume of water that collected. (Incidentally, for those not in the UK, this is what the worst drought in a century looks like…) Just to really rub things in, come 5pm when people were heading home, that was when the sun came out! Having said that, everybody seemed to have a good time, and enjoyed watching the trains – and in some cases having a go at driving them too – and also sitting and chatting afterwards. More to the point, the afternoon managed to raise Â£161 for Christian Aid. This has gone towards the total collected by the whole Church of over Â£1200 – massively more than the street collections have produced in the past, and also significantly more than the street collections we’ve carried out in Finchampstead have produced.
I took various pictures during the afternoon – unfortunately I forgot to check the charge on my spare camera batteries, so there are only a few with the digital camera, the rest being taken on the phone. The pictures can be seen in our photo gallery, and I have also posted a few movie sequences taken on the digital camera to YouTube, one of which is below.