St Michael’s East Ardsley has a novel ‘Count your Blessings’ scheme running through March to raise money for the church.
Church members have taken home a list of 31 things to be thankful for together with a suggested donation for each day.
Church Treasurer John Brayshaw, whose idea it was, says, “It was originally created by the Mothers’ Union, and my mother used it 30 years ago in Skipton, but then the amounts were 1 and 2p".
A couple of examples are: ‘Many people sleep rough at night. Give 30p for every bed in your house and thank God for a comfortable night’s sleep” or “Family life is very precious. Give 20p for every member of your family you have seen in the last month and remember those you have not seen in your prayers today’.
John adds, “It serves a double purpose at this time of year as the suggestions can be used as reflections during Lent. But really, any time of year is good to count your blessings and thank God for what you have.
“We’ve used it a couple of times (the last time was three years ago and we raised £500) and as our parish share has now gone up we thought we’d try it again. Even if 30 people raise £20 over a month – that’s £600.
“It can obviously be adapted and if people can’t give the suggested amounts they can give what they can".
John says that some of the suggestions are more challenging than others: “There’s one that asks you to think about people who have no shoes, and give 10p for every pair of footwear you own – but some of the ladies have jokingly complained that that would bankrupt them!”
Christian Aid have launched a similar Count your Blessings fund raising scheme for Lent in which “a calendar of reflections offers daily opportunities to give, act and pray for our neighbours, and to give thanks for life’s blessings”. Download the calendar here.