TMC has a growing network of Champions, these are people in local churches and organisations who support our work and help by raising awareness and support for local needs and priorities. 

As a Together Network champion, you will be at the forefront of awareness raising, telling the story of Christian love in action at a local level. With the backing of our resources and personal support in your area, you will be part of a network of strategic volunteers who share a passion to see some of the poorest communities in our nation elevated from poverty.

Mark Sutcliffe is PCC Treasurer at St Cuthbert's, Kildale and TMC Champion

As a ‘champion’ of TM&C– someone who acts as a link with and promotes the activities of the organisation – I recently spent a very enjoyable hour or two at one of the Feast of Fun days at the Methodist Church in Guisborough. Around 40 children from the Redcar and Cleveland area, supported by a dozen enthusiastic volunteers, were engaged in various activities inspired by a story from the Bible, which involved performing, listening, creating works of art and craft – and generally having a wonderful time. In the kitchen I talked to the volunteer chefs who were cooking up a huge pot of pasta for more than 50. This was a scene that has been repeated many times over the summer in Middlesbrough and Cleveland, in an initiative that provides vital support for children and their families over the long summer holidays. It reflects TM&C’s aim of practical support and bringing people together – in this case providing a nutritious meal and a day of fun for the children.

Living in rural North Yorkshire, my role as champion is to encourage participation and awareness of TM&C in my area. John Hinman, trustee of TM&C, has addressed our church congregation, and this coming Harvest half of the collection will go towards TM&C’s activities. The important thing about its work is that it shows how different denominations and faiths, or none, can come together in a common goal – to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community, and particularly those who are marginalised or vulnerable. It’s about making a practical difference to people’s lives by bringing communities, organisations and individuals together.

Mark Sutcliffe, September 2018

All Saints’, Rudby-in-Cleveland and Hutton Rudby Methodist Chapel and Hub

The Anglican and Methodist churches in Hutton Rudby work together in several ways.   An important way is their support for the Middlesbrough Food Bank and for Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland.  Every week, for six years now, donations for the Food Bank have been collected in both churches, and a carload is driven to the Depot in Southbank.  Every year, for three years so far, I have asked for financial donations towards the lunches provided in Feast of Fun.  Members of both churches have given to this – in some cases very generously.  These seem little things to do.  Some of us have much, and we know there are people in Teesside with very little.

This year I was asked if I could spare a few days to help as a volunteer in Feast of Fun in a Middlesbrough church, and I loved it.  It was a huge privilege.  I was accepted as one of the team, both by the other leaders and helpers and by the children and their parents.  We had fun!  We all helped each other.  They were just lovely children.   It was a very enlightening experience to meet in a church with committed church people but also with people who had never been inside the church before.  We were all equally welcome and equally important.  The church was alive!

In 2015 Hutton Rudby Methodist Church turned their building into a Village Hub.  There, with the help of Anglican and other friends, many people meet for many different activities which enrich their lives, and the Hub also regularly supports several charities.  Meanwhile, All Saints’ church, as the parish church, gives generously to charities and hosts major village events – especially, but not only, at Christmas.  Together with our Roman Catholic friends, Anglicans and Methodists together lead Christian Assemblies in the local primary school, and produce a monthly village newsletter giving details of many different village events.  But I find there is much we can learn from Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland.  The giving and receiving is not all one-way. 

I worked at Teesside University for many years, and I learned there how warm and generous many Teesside people and communities are.  But some more prosperous people living outside Teesside are afraid of them.  Moreover, ambitious people with heavy individual commitments – careers, mortgages – seem to me sometimes to be afraid of each other.  Also: in recent years, as we probably all know, it has become easy to blame the poor for their own poverty, as well as to see them as a threat to us who are not (yet) poor.  Together Middlebrough and Cleveland, however, shows us Christian churches can live and thrive among all kinds of people, and love them equally. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in September 2018, said this to the Trades Union Congress:  ‘Jesus was highly political, He told the rich that they would face woes. …  He spoke harsh words to leaders of the nations when they were uncaring of the needy’;  but also: ‘Justice is God’s nature, but it is our responsibility’, and ‘only partnerships between governments, civil society – including unions and churches – business and society, can heal the sicknesses of society now and in the future’.

I hope that we can learn to be more like the churches in Teesside, where not only are poor people welcomed but also the sicknesses of our society – as they affect both poor and richer people – can be acknowledged and openly learned about.

Su Reid

Lay Reader, Hutton Rudby.  TMC Champion.

Christ Church, Great Ayton

It has always been our philosophy  that we are privileged to live in a wealthier part of the world, and part of that privilege is in being able to support others financially. The support we have given to many Charities over the years is an important part of our life as a Church, and this comes through various means from Appeals, Events, Occasional Offices and direct giving from the PCC budget. Give and you shall receive – very true words.

Needs aren’t just in foreign fields, but many nearer to home.   The Congregation in Christ Church sees, first hand, the very difficult situation that exists for our neighbours in Middlesbrough and Cleveland and feel blessed that we are in a position to help.  We chose Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland to support as it is local, efficient and accountable.  We know some of the people involved, like Heather Black, and appreciate the way that this organization is able to bring together support from different sources and focus on specific needs.  It is good for us to support and encourage what is happening on the ground not many miles away from where we are.  We also have the link through our regular collections for the Foodbank.

If you would like to find out more about the TMC Champions Network please contact us.