Just over four years ago I was invited to join the Southampton City Mission board of trustees. I accepted the invitation and have had the great privilege of serving the Lord in this way. Being involved professionally in education for many years and later in my role as headteacher, I guess my experience was deemed to be of some value. However, I have been genuinely humbled by the passion, drive, commitment and love for serving the city evidenced by all those involved in the work of SCM, whether staff or the team of volunteers.
For those of you who perhaps know little of the work of SCM, here is a potted history. SCM has been running for over 50 years, seeking to “serve the church as it serves the city”. Many will remember dear Oscar Penhirow, a member of our church and City Missioner for many years. Oscar was a great evangelist whose unique style of spreading the Good News impacted on many people and was indeed an inspiration to all of those who had the privilege to know him.
After Oscar retired from the post of City Missioner, SCM lay dormant for several years until around 25 years ago Chris Davis was appointed. Chris had and indeed still has a passion for reaching out to the poor in the city through acts of kindness whilst also spreading the Good News. His style is very different to that of Oscar’s but the heart is the same. Chris has been recognized for his work in the city by being awarded an MBE. And so, Basic Bank which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary and then later the Schools’ Work were developed.
Just to give you a flavour, in 2015 SCM fed over 8,000 people and clothed over 1700 via their food banks across the city. Also, through their vital schools’ work they have delivered over 95 assemblies, held 79 Question of Faith days across 48 schools! Without these services food and clothing could not be offered to some of the poorest people and the gospel could not be shared with thousands of children across the city!
Jesus instructs us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and spread the Good News and in our city this is the core purpose of Southampton City Mission. Over the years the work has grown with the social pressures resulting in an increase in the number of Basic Bank centres. Likewise, schools welcome the teams in to support the teaching of the Christian part of Religious Education. Without the support of SCM I believe the latter would barely take place, if at all. This would result in most of our children never hearing about Jesus in any context at all.
As the work of SCM has grown and indeed been greatly blessed by God, so has the need to invest in more paid staff and volunteers whilst also increasing sustained long term giving. SCM always has a need for more volunteers both in the schools’ work and in that of Basics Bank. So if you feel you would like to support in this way, please feel free to chat with me or have a look at the SCM website to find out more. If this is not your “thing” but you would still like to support the work through regular giving then again you can find further details on the website or chat to me.
Finally, if you are a cyclist do not forget there is a sponsored bike ride on October 1st! This will be a great opportunity for a fun day out, culminating with a BBQ, whilst raising monies in support of the work of Southampton City Mission! Again further information on the website but also hard copies are available in the church foyer.
Thank you for taking time to read this blog,
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit------“John 15:8.
“We love because He first loved us” 1John4:19.