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Small church, big backing

16 August 2013

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.

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