Equipping a compassionate church
Miriam was twenty-seven when she arrived in London to study. Over the coming years her situation changed and it was no longer safe for her to return home. Miriam was left isolated in a new country until she encountered the hospitality and friendship from one of our Stepney parishes.
The parish members helped Miriam access legal advice and raised funds for her living costs. Some of the church members attended a Capital Mass learning community about how to support someone through the asylum process. This gave them the guidance, knowledge and confidence to support Miriam through her complex and lengthy case.
In 2018, after six years of dedicated effort, Miriam and 20 church friends attended the final Court Hearing where she was given leave to remain in the UK. The Immigration Judge said he was ‘very impressed by both the numbers and commitment of the church congregation members in their support for Miriam’.
Miriam’s story is just one example of how Capital Mass has been helping churches tackle poverty and inequality in its varied guises. On Monday 24 September, the Capital Mass community gathered together for a ‘Joyful Celebration’ at St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate all that has been achieved since its launch three years ago.
The Capital Mass effect
Over the past three years, Capital Mass has created a learning community and a rich website full of practical resources to help parishes respond to the social issues they see around them. From helping refugees and asylum seekers like Miriam, to rooting out isolation and chronic loneliness. From counselling people through debt and financial exclusion, to opening up churches to the homeless.
Over 40 Capital Mass networking and training events have helped over 1,200 people make a difference in their communities. A hundred short training films are now on the website and have already received over 14,000 downloads.
If you are unaware of this resource, please click here
The partnership between the London Diocesan Fund and the Church Urban Fund is making a real difference to those who have come into contact with Capital Mass. According to a recent survey: 88% said their awareness of poverty in London had increased; 92% said that they had increased volunteering hours to tackle poverty in London; 20% said that they had increased their prayer into the poverty issues; and 13% had started a new ministry or started to volunteer for the first time.
So it has been a great few years for Capital Mass with over 14,000 lives being positively impacted each year through the work of 153 parishes. But we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
To connect your parish, find out more, or tell us what you’re already doing, click here and become part of the community.
Capital Mass is an independent charity financially sustained by charitable gifts and donations. If you would like to support us on our cause, you can donate here.