When you are in the middle of a warehouse full of shoeboxes and after a pretty terrible 2020, we were delighted to receive a wonderful e-mail. The message was from an Agnes Burton who really wanted to encourage us with what had happened in her church this shoebox time.
” I thought it would be good to share how my church responded to the Shoebox Appeal this year, maybe it might encourage others. The Shared Church in Ringstead is a small but very supportive church and the Shoebox Appeal is a very special part of our church life. We do not just gather the boxes together, we have them all out on display with knitted blankets spread over the pews and pulpit for our Shoebox Dedication service which takes place during a Sunday morning worship service towards the end of October.
The items are prayed over and we then take them to the Collection Point at Northampton. This year we really had to think out of the (shoe)box and to begin with I could not see how it would work and we would have to cancel but my husband said that we could not cancel because ‘we have already advertised it in the church newsletter’. Carol, the third member of Team Shoebox has lots of spare items in her garage so we came up with three suggestions for the congregation 1. Pay £20 directly to Link to Hope and we know many people did that 2. Pack your own shoebox which many folks did OR 3. Using our spares, we will pack a shoebox on your behalf for the minimum donation of £3.
The result was a staggering 69 packed shoeboxes, 128 knitted knee blankets and £140 in donations for Link to Hope.
We also held a ‘Virtual’ Shoebox Dedication service on Zoom , using the Link to Hope video and photos of the boxes and blankets. The minister who took the service read from 1 Thessalonians ‘Your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ’. and how this linked us to our dear friends in Eastern Europe. The whole experience has been truly amazing and humbling as it made me realise that, in these surreal times, God has everything under control. A friend said its as if God is saying ‘Just who is in charge here?’
Having had this incredible experience, we are now fired up for Shoebox 2021, Lockdown or no Lockdown and have already started to collect items whenever we find them. Sorry, if this has rambled on a bit, but I just felt I owe it to everyone who supported us to tell you of our experience in Lockdown Shoebox and I hope it inspires someone else to know that it might be a different way of packing shoeboxes, but it does work. Thanks for reading this, Agnes Burton”
We could not function without the likes of Agnes and many thousands of others. We hope her words encourage you as they have encouraged us.