"Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own." - Henri Nouwen

It is a known fact that giving and community building go hand in hand - encouraging generosity as ministry, and community as a gift. As churches we have so much to offer, which was recently quantified by the House of Good report stating that the economic and social value of all church buildings to the UK is at least £12.4 billion per year. Not just the bricks and mortar but the welfare and wellbeing they create in our communities.

One example of this is a humbling story from St John the Baptist Church, Pockley. During the Lockdowns, despite intermittent services and online services, the PCC kept in community by looking after the church grounds and the churchyard - and the churchyard has been transformed.

The Revd Sue Binks, Vicar of Kirkdale with Harome, Nunnington and Pockley comments,

"On Bank Holiday Monday the PCC working with the village hall was determined to promote good community life, and organised a joint fundraiser for the church and village hall.

"They organised a Table Top Sale, leafletting the whole village, and invited every household to host a table - and then offered bacon butties, home made cake and tea and coffee.

"The whole Benefice supported their little sister, and enjoyed catching up with each other. It raised about £1,000, and was split between the church and the village hall.

"I think the experience of the Generous Giving team spending some time with us at Pockley and preaching at the Harvest Thanksgiving a couple of years ago had long term impact, and encouraged the worshipping community to become more invitational and generous in spirit.

"The fundraiser and link with the village hall has given the community confidence to organise church services that have meaning for the community - Harvest Thanksgiving, Remembrance and the Advent Sunday Gift Service. The gifts we gather at Advent, both financial and actual, will be for Brambes Farm, Middlesbrough.

"I feel as a church we have grown in many ways within the last few years - in generosity, in fellowship with one another, and in confidence in our links within our community."