A second chance

It is difficult to imagine that Humberto Urbina, a charming, smart and articulate young man from Nicaragua, was once a drug dealer and violent criminal.

His past as a gang member still haunts him – “To have taken people’s lives…that you can’t forget” – but thanks to Christian Aid partner Centre for the Prevention of Violence (CEPREV), he has turned his life around. He has learned that being a man is not about reaching for a gun, but reaching out to his children and giving them the affection he lacked.

Gift Day will take place on Saturday 14th March as part of the Spring Market and envelopes will be available from Sunday 8th March.

As you know, Gift Day is an annual event with donations of one-off gifts, to be used for the running and maintenance of the church. If you have any questions as to using the weekly envelope scheme or, if you pay tax, how Gift Aid would benefit the church’s finances at no cost to yourself, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

If you are unable to come on Saturday 14th March you can place your Gift envelope into the collection on any Sunday.

Janet Findlay, Gift Aid Secretary

Southampton City Mission have sent us thanks for donations that we made to their Basics Bank project at Harvest time. It is at that time of year that SCM Basics Bank (which has existed for 18 years now) receives around a third of all the food that it will have donated in the year. It supplies ordinary individuals and families in Southampton that find themselves in need. 2013 saw a massive 47% rise in demand for their services, and by mid-Autumn of 2014, the number of people that they had fed was 19% higher than in 2013.

At Isaac Watts we support Commitment For Life's work in Central America. Here is an update from the end of last Autumn:-

Irma Raimundo can often be found in her garden, tending her plants. But for Irma, gardening is not a hobby - it's a way of ensuring her children have enough to eat.

Irma and her family are indigenous Chorti people, a marginalised community who live in the mountain villages of Chiquimula, Guatemala. It's breathtakingly beautiful, but the land is steep and rocky, so it's difficult to farm. Unsurprisingly, 62% of children are malnourished. There are few jobs in this remote area, so many men migrate in search of work.

You will notice a change to the Christmas Eve Service this year, since there will be no Midnight Service on the 24th December this year, which is being replaced by a Carols Around The Tree at 4.30pm on the 24th. Attendance at the 11.30pm service had declined in recent years, and the Communion Service held last year as an experiment was not well-supported, therefore it seemed to be time to freshen things up. We hope the new time and arrangement will prove more popular: please support it!