May 2001 the Congregational Federation ran an appeal for funds to
support a Church in Southern Albania. The church provides many services
to the people of the town of Saranda.
These services include a food voucher scheme, an adoption programme,
and the running of a Christian bookshop and a small cafe, which are
then managed by poor families who would otherwise have no employment
summer, the Church organises, mans and finances four camps, one
each for the elderly, young adults, teenagers and children. The camps are held at a
secluded beach two hours north of Saranda. For the adults they provide
an opportunity to explore the Bible and the Christian faith away
from the demands of normal life. For the teenagers and children
they give an opportunity to learn more about God, while enjoying
a holiday away from home."
the Kosovo crisis in 1999, the Church of around fifty members cared
for and fed approximately 3,000 refugees who had fled from Kosovo.
The Greek Evangelical Church of Corfu, which originally established
the Church in Saranda after the fall of Communism, was also involved
in this huge operation. The Greek Church mortgaged its building
in order to buy food, medicine and bed mattresses.
Congregational Federation has already raised and donated around £8,000
to the Churches in Corfu and Saranda. In November 1999, the Rev. C.
Gillham, Secretary of the Congregational Federation in Wales, drove
a landrover, bought by the Gofrit
organisation, from Wales to Albania. It is in use still, doing good work for the Church in Saranda.
one off appeal has grown into a new charity, "Christian Rebuild".
It has a bigger remit, supporting projects all over Eastern Europe
and the Middle East. But its method of working will always be through
the local Church, like that at Saranda which, of course, continues
to be at the heart of its mission. If you would like to know more,
please go to http://www.christianrebuild.com/