You, like many others, may feel at the mercy of rising costs of living, watching as prices inflate and each pound has to go that bit further.
According to the Office for National Statistics, nearly 9 in 10 adults have identified increases in their living costs, with the poorest households being worst hit by inflation and the impact this has on their household budgets (according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies). The consequence of these rises has resulted in millions of adults going without food (Food Foundation) and more households being pulled into debt (Uswitch).
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a charity that provides free debt help and local community groups in partnership with churches across the UK. Sadly, here at CAP we’ve already seen a surge in the use and need of our services, with many of our clients being forced to go without heating, and water bills becoming a growing issue. This led to a 131% rise in requests for fuel support between April 2021 and April 2022.
But behind every number, there is a person who is living this reality. A person who is being pulled underwater by the weight of increasing costs in already turbulent times. Someone such as Paul.
Paul suffered a head injury following a series of racial attacks. A brick to the head gave him epilepsy and led to anger issues and struggles with his mental health. Debt built up, bailiffs were hounding him and threatening letters were overwhelming. His life began to be pulled underwater and darkened by what felt like inescapable debt.
It’s in these moments, when all is dark, that we need to come together to provide the light. Here at CAP, we help people to find hope and light. Through partnerships with churches, we provide practical and emotional support, enabling people to see that there is always hope.
For Paul, he journeyed from a dark place to a place of light when he reached out for support from CAP. Through London Camden Debt Centre run by Revelation Church, Paul has been able to break free from the financial chains that bound him. Beyond unlocking the traps of debt, Paul has also been on a faith journey which has brought peace and comfort into his life. He says, ‘It changed me mentally and physically’.
Helping people to get out of debt is a process of hope. Yet we are sadly faced with the reality that with incomes remaining low and prices growing higher, the current situation looks dire. Poverty is still very much present in the UK and this year it is important to make space for a time to lament as we journey from despair to hope.
On Sunday 16 October, churches across the country will be taking time to reflect on and respond to debt and poverty in the UK as we go through this cost of living crisis. We call this CAP Sunday. Whether you’re part of a church that has been a CAP partner for years, or this is your first time meeting us, we want everyone to have the opportunity to acknowledge where we’re at and where we need to be.
This is an invitation to lament as we reflect on the reality of UK poverty, and listen to God as he calls us to respond. In the face of the rising cost of living and the growing crisis of debt and poverty, your church has the power to stand and shine God’s light against the darkness, lifting those who are suffering into a hope-filled future.
CAP Sunday will equip your church with free resources to explore ways to positively and practically come alongside your community. We’ll provide all the resources you and your church need to host this special service, including a biblical talk and the inspiring story of another CAP client. This time it will be Syd, who will tell his story of becoming debt free despite battling mental and physical hardship.
We would love for you and your church to join us on this journey. Find out more about CAP Sunday and book your free CAP Sunday resources now.
Written by: Christians Against Poverty