COLLECTING well-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child went so well
last year at St John’s, Bilston, in Chichester diocese, that
the Revd Andrew Perry (right) said he would eat his hat if the congregation got
even more boxes this year. And they did — they got 101.
He realised what a rash promise he had made, and was wondering whether
clerical outfitters sold rice-paper birettas, when the churchwarden, Carol
Frost, and the Reader, Elaine Noonan, helped him out with a hat carefully
crafted from tortillas, a bagel, and mushroom pâté.
The boxes filled with Christmas presents will go to children overseas (seven
million were collected by the charity last year), and Mr Perry says the
enthusiastic response from his own parish comes from "the great increase in
growth we’re seeing at St John’s — not just in numbers, but in people putting
their faith into practice".