A SMALL rural church on the outskirts of Crewe, in
Chester diocese, is rising to the Archbishop of
Canterbury's challenge in a big way. St Peter's, Minshull Vernon,
is putting £20,000 from its reserves into two credit unions: the
Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union, and another in the wider area
that is yet to be decided.
The Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Dr Philip Goggin, tells me that
they had already been thinking about this before Archbishop Welby
raised the issue recently, but have now been convinced that they
are doing the right thing. Dr Goggin says that they are in a
"relatively privileged" area, but they know that "just down the
road" are some of the most deprived wards in Britain.
Although St Peter's congregation numbers a modest 80 souls from
a population of 6500, they are very active in their local
community, particularly with children, and they let their church
hall to community organisations free of charge. But Dr Goggin goes
on to say that the Archbishop has triggered their decision to help
the credit unions, as they encourage thrift and help people to
manage their money.
"We want to provide an alternative for desperate people who
would otherwise resort to using unscrupulous lenders who charge
extortionate rates of interest," he says.