I love the matter-of-fact way that he talks about it:
Eight weeks ago the Archbishop of Canterbury laid down a challenge to his churches to open up their buildings and offer their congregations’ expertise to run Credit Unions as alternatives to payday lenders.
So I phoned the local vicar proposing that we do just that.
Someone had an idea that could change people’s lives, so we took action. Simple.
They held a meeting to see if there was any local interest. There was, so they took the next step.
And this is not out of character. Robin describes how he and his wife make a habit of acting on needs they see around them:
Over the last 20 months or so, my wife and I have been haphazard payday lenders. It started when a couple from the estate, friends of ours, had mismanaged their money over Christmas and needed some help in the short term. So we lent them some money which they paid back, and we put into a jam jar.
We’ve lent to others too out of that jam jar. A mum who wanted to borrow a tenner to get her son a birthday present. A family whose income suddenly went down when their adult son had his jobseekers cut. And a young mum who needed some money for a police check before she could start her new job.
We’ve probably had people borrow money from us on about 20 different occasions, all folks who we know.
It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s low-risk and it all comes out of relationships with their neighbours. But now the vision is spreading:
But there’s lots of people living on our estate who we don’t know. And I’m hoping that the Credit Union will be able to help them.
I’ve been re-reading the book of Nehemiah recently. One of the things I’ve always liked about this Bible character is that he saw a need, and rather than simply praying that God would solve the problem, he acted (with a lot of prayer, too). Faith and action are a powerful combination.
What bothers you? What could you do about it? How could you get others to help? And when are you going to start?