Love Your Neighbour, a multi-denominational partnership of churches and Christian faith groups that includes some RC churches, the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) and Youth 2000, has launched a new initiative, Love Christmas, to give practical assistance and spread a powerful message of love, hope and kindness to people who are struggling this winter, and churches and individuals can be part of it..
Many churches, with young people in the forefront, are already doing so much to help, and this initiative offers support to those already active, as well as guidance and resources for those who want start a local project, or to do more in a coordinated way, either as churches or as individual volunteers. There is a webinar on Monday 23 November for any groups interested in getting involved. (more below)
By mobilising an army of local volunteers to sponsor and deliver a million Christmas Boxes to the most vulnerable and isolated, Love Christmas will let the nation know we stand with them and for them in a Christmas season that will be difficult for so many.
Recognising that local churches are best placed to know where and how to demonstrate God’s love to their neighbours in practical ways, Love Christmas aims to offer the nation a unified message of love as we join together across different areas, denominations and backgrounds, while shining a light on the amazing things different churches are doing. The initiative is working with national and local media, supermarkets and others, and hopes to ignite a viral message which will inspire the whole nation with the true meaning of Christmas.
How you can get involved:
Individuals can volunteer to help locally through a growing network of Love Your Neighbour hubs across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Visit this page to find your nearest hub, and contact them directly to volunteer.
How your church can get involved:
Become a Love Christmas church …
1. Create a plan to give Christmas boxes (or equivalent) to vulnerable neighbours in your locality— whether that’s food, toys or other gifts as appropriate
2. Sign up at loveyourneighbour.uk/loveChristmaschurch to join churches across the UK in communicating a national message of hope and love by linking your plan to the Love Christmas alliance
3. Keep Love Christmas updated with your stories and progress so they can shine a light on our unified activity and track progress towards the target of sharing one million gifts with the nation.
Love Christmas Boxes
The initiative encourages churches to connect with each other locally and work together to identify needs in their neighbourhood and plan how they can best meet them.
Once signed up, you will have access to some of the amazing ‘Box’ ideas already working in the UK. These include support for elderly people living on their own, vulnerable families with young children, the homeless, families of prisoners and refugees amongst others. Each box is tailored according to the local needs and situation and will include a Christmas card from the local church to say we are here for you. Christmas boxes will typically cost £10; but this will vary from area to area.
The initiative provides a range of resources to help churches:
• Examples of packing lists with suggested costing
• Guidance on volunteer engagement methods
• Participation in a national media message together with branded assets for websites, social media and videos
• Introductions to potential discounts and partnerships with suppliers
• Access to potential match-funding opportunities
• Access to training webinars and the Love Your Neighbour learning community
To find out more about the webinar and how to get involved in Love Christmas, please contact Annie Magee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Love Your Neighbour website: https://www.loveyourneighbour.uk/
Download Love Christmas info for churches below: