One of the unexpected benefits of Church of England’s Daily Prayer App is an increased familiarity with lesser festivals and commemorations. I must confess that these do sometimes leave me a little curious, such as why, today 26th May, the compliers of the calendar decided to lump John Calvin (Reformer) and Philip Neri, (Founder of the Oratorians) together, perhaps they thought opposites attract. According to the lectionary 19th September is the day we in the Anglican Church commemorate Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 668-690. I have to confess my first thought when I read this was the not very spiritual “Well, matey, you were a long way from home”. I’m not that knowledgeable on Middle Eastern geography, but as a result of a rather more famous early Christian originally from Tarsus I know Theodore started life in what is now Turkey.
I shouldn’t be surprised at this; the Christian journey has always been for many a physical as well as a spiritual one. Of the early saints who brought the faith to these shores, St. Ninian was a Briton who arrived in Scotland via Rome, St. Aiden was Irish, and St. Cuthbert was born in Dunbar. In England, Augustine, who established the Archbishopric at Canterbury, and is also commemorated on 26th May, was… best described as an Italian (had Italy existed at the time). So, it has gone on through the centuries that the life of the Church in Britain has been enriched through the ministry of people from all over the world.
This is reflected in the truly international nature of Churches Mutual. As our map shows, have members from five continents, some have lived and worked here for many years while others are answering a more recent call to minister in British churches and church organisations. For those who are new to this country, the credit union, often familiar to them from credit unions back home, provides a service that the mainstream banks won’t. With our highly personal service and experience of the needs of people moving to Britain for work, we are usually able to offer finance for cars, furniture or legal fees to applicants without a credit history in this country.
As one of our members, Revd. Brian Smith told us, having moved from South Africa to be a minister in the Church of Scotland put him at a disadvantage when he needed to buy a car to enable his ministry around the parish:
“As a Minister from another country, trying to find my way through the maze of setting up a bank account, registering for all sorts of things and securing finance for a vehicle, the experience of the process at Churches Mutual was a refreshing change.
I cannot recommend them too highly—the staff are well informed and very helpful – I felt like I was dealing with a friend rather than an official, the application process is dead simple, the administration and communication is quick and reliable, the costs are extremely competitive with some and better than most, plus the repayments are deducted at source so easy to manage—so for me using the credit union is a ‘no brainer’!”
So even if you’re a long way from ‘home’, you will find a home with Churches’ Mutual.