The Parish Trust is a very different animal to what I thought it would be when we first started our work in the Pandemic. We never thought that The Parish Trust would become such a large charity, with all of the opportunities and challenges that brings over the last few years. By all accounts, the 2020s have not been good time to start or maintain a charity!
We have, will, and will be, responding to a number of global and domestic challenges from pandemics, to wars, to economic recessions. Spare time is increasingly taken away by working more jobs, or having to share cars to cut down costs. Public generosity to charitable causes has, overall, declined over the last year. Grant funding is harder to find. With all that comes uncertainty. Our lives are uncertain, and there are moments where our own fragility and vulnerability is exposed to us in an uncomfortable way.
But Christmas can have a wonderful way of giving us a lifeline of hope, even in bleak moments of uncertainty, and even despair.
Jesus was born in an uncertain world. His earthly parents found themselves under an occupying power being required to travel to register their details, no gas and air for the labour, never mind a bed for the night, the exhale of stable animals as the only source of heating, and then the transfer from citizens under occupying powers to refugees, fleeing their own country for fear of their lives.
Yet angels sang in worship, visitors travelled the world to see him. Mary looked at the Son she’d been promised who would save the world from itself, and continued to treasure the memories in her heart. Jesus brought hope because he had been promised as the one who would be named ‘Emmanuel’, which means God is with us. The point of his coming was to be born in the mess, amongst us, to be with us, and to show us that a better way ahead can be forged when we put our trust in him.
God is with you this Christmas, if you’ll let him. Whilst we exist for everyone, and you don’t have to be a follower of Jesus Christ to be involved or to benefit from The Parish Trust, we are unashamedly a Christian organisation and we can truly say that we’ve felt God’s presence with us this year. We’ve experienced God’s love and peace through the generosity of others, and financial miracles and perfectly timed happenings that could have only been God’s doing.
But it’s not been an easy year for us! There have been moments where we’ve wondered how long the money will last for, or whether we’re doing the right thing. We have felt quite tested and uncertain right up until the eleventh hour on more than one occasion. But we believe God is faithful, and that he’s with us.
It’s the best gift to know that God is for you. It doesn’t mean that life will be easy. But knowing the gift of God’s presence helps us both in the good times, and the bad, and this gift is available to all of us – we just have to accept it and trust.
May I wish you a very Merry Christmas, full of hope and peace, even when life may be uncertain.
With all my love,
Of further interest...
Ffarwelio â Luke Coleman: Mae aelod tosturiol o deulu’r Ymddiriedolaeth Plwyf yn cychwyn ar daith newydd
In a bittersweet moment, The Parish Trust announces the
Datganiad i’r Wasg: Gallai elusen Gristnogol a helpodd 9,000 o bobl yn ystod cyfyngiadau symud COVID gael eu troi allan gan yr Eglwys yng Nghymru
Gallai elusen Gristnogol boblogaidd a enillodd wobr fawr a
Rev. Dean Aaron Roberts
Rev. Dean Aaron Roberts (BA, MA, Cert.RSCM) is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Parish Trust. Prior to his current role, Dean was the Chair of Trustees for the charity. Dean has worked in a ministerial role as an ordained minister. He also holds a position at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board as a Chaplain. He is the Vice Chair of Governors of a primary school, and has served on various Boards and Committees throughout his career. Dean is a member of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO)