I discovered an intriguing bit of history in the archives of my previous church, which may provide an idea for a Christian response to the energy crisis. It was called, ‘The Ration Club.’

National Shortages

On 8th January 1940, the British government brought in rationing to manage food shortages.  The Germans were bombing food shipments from abroad and the country was not self-sufficient during World War II. So a whole range of food was put “on ration.” Sugar, eggs, butter, milk and bacon were restricted, for example. 

Overnight an adult was only entitled to buy 1 egg a week, 2 oz of cheese, and similarly small amounts of other basics.  Certain foods such as Macaroni became gold dust.  Substitutes were found for rare commodities, such as replacing onions with garlic.

Even with a government issued ration book, there was no guarantee of finding the food you wanted. In February 1941, Vere Hodgson wrote in her diary that she longed for some fruit and went to buy a pound of apples, only to find nothing but Turnips in her local shops!

Such food shortages were hard for families, already struggling from the trauma of war.  Hunger and queuing became a regular and unwelcome reality of life.

How did the church respond?  

A Church Response

Well, one church set up a ration club. I discovered this from some meeting minutes at Holy Trinity Wallington. Whether this was part of a national initiative or just a local invention was not clear. But the Ration Club was run once week by the church in their hall for the community in South London.  

The group did various things to help struggling families. They shared recipes and ideas of how to make rations go further, they pooled ration tokens, provided practical help to others facing hardship, and they shared their hope in Christ. It was a practical and caring response to a national crisis – and not without personal cost. 

I was told that the Luftwaffe used to regularly dump their unused bombs on Wallington when returning home from London raids, to lighten their load before crossing the channel.  Hence, many of the buildings had their windows blown out, making life unpleasantly cold in winter. Food sacrifice, bombs, and the cold were therefore the hazards of running the club.

Energy Crisis

This week, the energy crisis will bite.  New charges for gas and electricity will come into effect on 1st October. Although protected somewhat by the price cap, many will be pushed into fuel poverty and will face a cold and miserable winter.  

We are called to “faith, love and hope” as Christians (1 Cor 13:13).  But what does Christian love look like in a national energy crisis?  What will be our equivalent of the Ration Club?

Local councils have been identifying ‘warm banks’ or places for people to meet in winter.  Could churches offer a warm space to people during the cold months? Maybe we could share our energy saving tips, LED bulbs, or even spare home insulation. As individuals, could we invite elderly and vulnerable neighbours round for a couple of hours every week or take them out to a warm cafe? A place where people can discover the heart-warming message of Christ is a great need.

Radical Generosity

The World Energy Council has called for a spirit of “radical generosity” in communities to prevent the cost-of-living crisis becoming “a cost of lives crisis” this winter.  And they are right: such actions will require generosity because providing warm spaces will cost considerable money. 

Our church faces a 100% rise in fuel bills in the new year, despite the energy cap. Our monthly bills will cost hundreds of pounds more in the colder months.  Charities like ours don’t get help with these costs; these bills are covered solely by the generosity of our members’ donations. It will mean a personal sacrifice for us to open our churches and homes, at a time when we are all under financial pressure.

And, yet, this is a chance to turn on the radical generosity of Christ, while others turn off their heating.  The greatest thing we can do, according to the Bible, is to show Christ’s sacrificial love (John 15:13). Wouldn’t it be great if future Christians were inspired by our church records to that same Christ-like love?  

It is something to pray for.

Before our morning service on Sunday 9th October, we are hosting a men’s breakfast.

A full English breakfast for free. Sign up at the back of church. It will be held in the church hall. All our welcome.

Our new talk series on 1 Samuel starting at church Sun 11 at 10.30am

Watch again our week of ‘Life’ events with Roger Carswell and guests.

Like many, we have been horrified by the events in the Ukraine and have been looking for ways to help the people. Here’s some ways in which you can provide support:

Donations

There are lots of good charities working with refugees from the Ukraine providing emergency assistance. We have chosen to support the Tearfund campaign, which is providing food, bedding and temporary accomodation. We will be donating our Easter church collections to the relief effort. You can donate online here.

Sponsorship

The government is seeking people to sponsor families from the Ukraine fleeing the country, providing assistance and accomodation. We are supporting the Global Sanctuary Foundation as a church, which is seeking to offer assistance to Ukrainian families arriving in our country.

If you are a UK citizen and would be willing to host a family for at least 6 months, you can register on the site.

Prayer

We’ve been seeing in our Sunday services from Luke’s gospel that Jesus talked about wars and rumours of wars in our times. He told people not to be alarmed, but to watch and pray (Luke 21: 9-36).

We will continue to pray for peace and the people of the Ukraine in our weekly Sunday services from 10.30am and at our monthly prayer meeting on the third Sunday of every month at 7pm in church. Do join us. Visitors are most welcome.

To inform your personal prayers, here’s some background information about the church in the Ukraine from Operation World. See the Facebook page of Christ Church, the Church of England Church in Kyiv, which meets in a German Lutheran Church.

We are delighted to announce our new Outreach Worker.

The tongue reveals a lot about your health. I discovered this some years ago when helping a friend revise for her medical exams.

Take the colour.  A white tongue can show Candidiasis, a yeast infection cause by stress or medication.  A raspberry-coloured tongue can show Kawasaki disease, cause by a vitamin deficiency.  A black hairy tongue…I will spare you further details.

The Apostle John wrote to his Christian friends of his prayer “that you may enjoy good health…just as you are progressing spiritually” (3 John v2).

The signs of physical health are obvious but how can you know whether you are in good spiritual health? What does spiritual progress look like in practice?

Some of us maybe anxious about our relationship with God when we have no reason to be.  Others of us maybe confident when there is cause for concern.

The booklet, ‘Spiritual Healthcheck’ by Carl Laferton addresses these questions.  It consists of 16 short reflections with a Bible reading.

We will be sending out a copies to families at St George’s, and will be encouraging the church to work through it this term.

There are two ways you could take part:

The Private Consultation

You could work through the reflections yourself on your own. Set aside time. Do no more than one reflection a day. Read the Bible passage. Answer the application questions. Then pray. 15 minutes a day, that’s all it takes. But like physical exercise, a little, regular and often can make a big difference to your spiritual wellbeing. 

The Group Work Session

Alternatively, you could go through the book this term with our Growth Group.  From this Wednesday, every week from 8pm to 9.30pm, you can take part over the phone or online through Zoom.  This is ideal if you are flagging in motivation and you’d benefit from other people’s insight. You won’t need to read anything in advance. We’ll discuss a chapter and end by sharing prayer requests. You are welcome to try it out to see if it is for you.  (Get in touch for the Zoom details)

So go on. Open wide. Say ‘Ahhh.’ And see what God can do through a bit of spiritual exercise this term.

Watch the video for more details. You can get more copies of the booklet at the Good Book Company, if you want to send a copy to a friend or family member (www.thegoodbook.co.uk, 0333 123 0880).

What can Alzheimer’s teach us about love? We asked Robin Thomson a few questions about his book on the subject.

The concert has been CANCELLED due to our latest advice

Our church buildings are temporaily closed until 28 Feb. Services will continue online.