Margaret Fryer, from St Andrew’s Church Bournville has come up with a novel way of keeping in touch with parishioners and collecting donations.
Margaret uses her grandson’s telescopic fishing net to visit homes of regular church goers on the estate and collect their regular donations each month, having a chat and praying for people at the same time.
St Andrew’s, which is housed in a community centre, is struggling like many churches to pay its ongoing costs as the third lockdown continues. The church had previously relied on donations from parishioners and regular table top sales to meet its costs, including rent of the community centre space.
The request for the collection of donations came from the regular parishioners themselves, explained Margaret, most of whom are elderly, though the church is used by many different groups of all ages across the estate.
“We have been trying to keep in touch as lockdown regularly by phone has gone on for so long. Some people have barely been out for a year. Some regular worshippers became concerned that they weren’t able to give regularly, as they have always done, especially as they know the church is struggling. So I offered to walk around the estate and collection the giving envelopes each month, and it gives me a chance to chat to people too. I do it as part of my daily exercise. You can’t do it quickly, people are happy to chat and like to see a friendly face at the door.”
She is also delivered ‘forget me not’ cards, reminding people that although the church is closed, they have not been forgotten.
Many households on the estate are struggling, especially families living in flats with no outdoor space.
“I can feel a bit helpless at times because we can’t go into people’s homes to help but we can pray for them, and we do, very much so.
“Its really tough for so many people, but we will come out of it. God is a good God and we trust in Him.”