Bridging church and community during the cost of living crisis

Rev Clive Jennings and Kate, the church’s children’s coordinator, were struck by one particular stand in the exhibition space at the 2016 New Wine Leadership Conference: that of UK children’s charity Transforming Lives for Good (TLG).

‘Our church was praying for a way to better engage with local families. We had great relationships with nearby schools, but felt called to go further in serving and sharing the gospel in practical ways.’

‘The more we looked at TLG Early Intervention, the more it answered what we felt called to do. We had a picture of a two-way bridge: the church reaching the community and the community reaching out into church.’

‘When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we at Christ Church Clevedon saw that local families were being impacted financially, as well as feeling anxious and isolated. TLG Early Intervention coaching continued online, but we wanted to do more. We signed up to run TLG Box of Hope, receiving lots of support from TLG – including £200 start-up funding.’

TLG Box of Hope was set up during the pandemic to deliver emergency food and wellbeing parcels to families across the UK, offering practical and emotional support. Through local churches like Clive’s running TLG Box of Hope, over one million meals have been delivered to children and families.

‘We were able to support many families across the area, providing not just parcels of food but friendship, community and activities for the children too.’

‘One family we connected with were bereaved through the death of the father. Mum was also facing health issues, while trying to support her two children through this incredibly difficult time and all the while managing on a tight budget. The family hugely appreciated the relationship they built up with their TLG Early Intervention coaches and the boxes of hope helped considerably in lifting the worries around food provision. The doorstep conversations Mum had with the Helen and the team who delivered the boxes also brought emotional wellbeing support.’

‘I would encourage every church, even if you’ve got just three or four people in your church, to partner with TLG. The knock-on effect helps change the culture of the church to be more open to everyone and see where God will take the relationships you forge! TLG has never felt like a bolt-on to our church ministry. It’s always felt very much at the heart of who we are, part of our DNA. We’ve been able to join in with God at work in the community!’

While COVID-19 restrictions have eased, the need continues to grow. Families are facing a huge cost of living crisis though the long winter months. The build up to Christmas should be a time of joy and hope, but many are facing increasing anxiety, isolation and financial insecurity.

At TLG, we share your heart to serve people and we want to equip you to reach struggling families in your community, offering practical support and the hand of friendship, through TLG Box of Hope.

To find out more about how your church can partner with TLG Box of Hope to support families this winter, including how you can receive the £200 start-up funding, click here.