God of the Poor – Follow-up!

Posted by John on Aug 22, 2013 in John Horton, Stourdene News

At our August Benefice Service we discovered just how passionate God is about justice; how much he hates injustice and wants Christians to ensure that the world’s resources are shared fairly with everyone. There are a number of things we can do to help ourselves be more aware of the issues and of the actions we can take to address the many and complicated problems. This is a long way from being a full list but it does aim to stimulate thinking.


  • Awareness: Ensure that we are aware of issues relating to hunger, climate change, international trade and debt. It is very important to ensure that we keep up-to-date with current affairs.
    • How? Keep up-to-date with world news. There are numerous websites including the BBC www.BBC.co.uk/news, ITN www.itn.co.uk and Sky News www.news.sky.com to look at but The Guardian, Times and Independent are also good at providing accurate international news. Many of our non-governmental organisations such as Christian Aid, Cord (based in Leamington Spa) www.cord.org.uk, Tearfund, Caford, Save the Children, Oxfam or Action Aid publish excellent materials reporting on their involvement around the world and would be happy to send them to you if you contact them.
    • If you are a shareholder of a company with international interests, study their annual report to discover exactly what they are doing. Are their activities ethical? Do they pay their overseas staff a fair wage? Are they paying taxes in the countries where they operate? If in doubt ask them!
    • Climate change and the environment is something that should concern all of us and Friends of the Earth have a helpful website www.foe.co.uk whilst A Rocha is an excellent Christian organisation working in this country and around the world to protect our environment. They have a regular publication that comes out three times a year and their website is www.arocha.org/gb-en .
  • Pray: having informed yourself of some of the major issues, try praying about them – it really does make a difference!  You can pray about issues mentioned on the news but organisations like Tearfund www.tearfund.org provide a quarterly Prayer Diary with their magazine “Tear Times”. On line Tearfund will supply an e-mail “One Voice Weekly” full of relevant prayer material or you can ask for their Prayer Diary to be e-mailed to you on a monthly basis. Christian Aid www.christianaid.org.uk  and the Mothers’ Union www.themothersunion.org also provide useful prayer materials covering their world-wide operations. For prayer resources on environmental issues look at the A Rocha website.
  • Give: Coming from a wealthy country we should be willing to give to help those who are in need here or further afield. Locally we can contribute to our Fosse Foodbank and if you know of people who might need help from the Foodbank please let Cath Vickers, Ali Massey or John Horton know about them. Again, the NGOs can all make excellent use of donations and information about giving and how the money is spent is provided in their publications and on their websites. They will also send on line updates about special appeals following major disasters but where there is a major catastrophe the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) will issue an appeal through our main news channels and one can respond to that. DEC funds are shared between most of the main UK based NGOs including Tearfund and Christian Aid. If you are a taxpayer remember any gift any be gift-aided which will increase its value by 25%.
    Apart from financial giving we can volunteer to help by giving our time and talents – when the Foodbank opens in this benefice we will need volunteers to operate it.
    For younger people many organisations provide opportunities to travel overseas in the holidays or as part of a GAP Year. These can be life transforming experiences that will affect the way we live the rest of our lives. For those who wish to stay closer to home and are good at listening, the Samaritans might also be glad of volunteers. See www.Samaritans.org/volunteers.
    Some of us have unused medicines in our homes that are still useable and could benefit those overseas for whom the cost of drugs is prohibitive. Inter Care ships drugs overseas so long as they have at least 15 months before their expiry date. See medicines@intercare.or.uk or telephone them on 0116 269 5925 at their base at Syston, Leicestershire, LE7 1LD.
  • Lobby: Proverbs 31, 8 tells us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute”. When we are aware of injustices, when we are aware that our government could be doing more for the poor at home or abroad we should contact our MPs, Ministers or the Prime Minister and tell them what we want them to do – if they do not hear from people about an issue they will not bother to deal with it. Slavery was only abolished because of the persistence of those who cared. ‘Make Poverty History’ was successful because of the mass of support it garnered and ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ worked because so many people were motivated to back the campaign in the first half of 2013. Many of our NGOs provide excellent campaign materials and Tearfund has some especially useful material for young people to use on their website. You can find them on twitter, facebook and You Tube whilst on www.rhythms.org there is some brilliant material including comments on the way H & M have rebranded their clothing as ethical and 6 things to do in the summer holidays or 5 things to do on results day. You can even get an app to prompt you consider important global issues. It does not matter what age we are there are things that we can all do as together we work for justice in God’s world.
  • Study the Bible: as Christians we should be aware of God’s perspective on the poor and matters of justice. Passages like Isaiah 58, Amos 5, 21-24 and 8, 4-7, Luke 4, 18 and James 2, 1-4 can all help to challenge us on these issues. Faith that does not result in practical action is not a lot of use as James explains. There is no use is saying to someone in need, “‘I wish you well; keep warm and well fed’  but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2; 16). There are a number of good Bible studies around on development one being in the “Changemakers” series called “Eyes wide open” which deals with issues of economics, environment, wealth creation and distribution.


I hope that some of this might enable you to consider what you can do to help those who are poor and apply your faith in a practical but very worthwhile way.


John Horton.


What do to do with all those old medicines

Posted by John on Aug 14, 2013 in John Horton, Stourdene News

Inter Care – Medical Aid for Africa

Have you ever wondered what to do with old medication that is no longer required? Many of us accumulate assorted medical supplies that go unused and eventually have to be thrown away because they are no longer in date and cannot be used. What a waste!

It is estimated by the National Audit Office that drugs with a value of between £400 and £800 million are prescribed and wasted each year in this country alone. Inter Care is an organisation that is able to use some of those valuable surplus medicines by shipping them to 121 rural hospitals, dispensaries and health centres in countries around Africa such as Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia.

Since it was established in 1974 Inter Care has dispatched more than £10 million worth of medicines to these countries. So long as the medicines are 15 months or more in date you can post them to Inter Care, 46, The Halfcroft, Syston, Leicestershire, LE7 1LD.

Inter Care develops long term relationships with the organisations they support. They do not send disaster or emergency aid. Consignments are sent to a named individual within the organisation they support twice each year. Each health unit supported is visited once every three years to ensure that the medicines reach their destinations. There are currently some 34 health units on a waiting list and needing the help of Inter Care.

Costs are kept to minimum with just 4 part-time paid staff and around 60 volunteers. Costs this last year for shipping to Africa were £38,000 whilst an additional £12,000 was spent collecting medicines from 1000 GP surgeries which are registered donors with Inter Care to participate in the scheme.

One or two people in our Benefice have been able to supply medicines to Inter Care and found it to be a very worthwhile thing to do.

Below is a list of items that Inter Care is able to dispatch overseas:






Surgical Items

Antibiotics and antibacterials Hand instruments (‘as new’)
Antifungals and antivirals Swabs, gauze, dressings, plasters
Antiretrovirals for HIV (please ask for current requirements) Theatre drapes, shoes, masks
Sulphonamides Bandages (all types)
Bronchodilators, including unused inhalers Plasters (all types)
Iron and vitamin medicines ‘Butterflies’
Analgesics (excluding dihydrocodeine, morphine etc) Giving sets and Cannulae
Antacids and ulcer healing drugs Sutures (all types)
Antihypertensives and diuretics Airways / tracheostomy tubes
Antihistamines Naso-gastric tubes
Steroid tablets and creams Maternity / sanitary pads
Ear and eye drops and ointments Delivery forceps
Antidepressants and antipsychotics Neck collars / wrist braces
Nitrates and Digoxin Thermometers, stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers (not mercury)
Local anaesthetics Kidney dishes
Creams and ointments Measuring cups / spoons
Oral anti-diabetics Gallipots
Anti epileptics and anti-malarials Spatulae
  Gloves (especially latex)
  Weighing scales (lightweight only)
  Needles and syringes


Inter Care cannot send the following items:


Medicines Surgical Items
NO Controlled / ‘dangerous’ drugs e.g. Dihydrocodeine, morphine etc NO Specialised appliances
NO Hormonal drugs NO X-ray machines / films
NO IV fluids or TB treatments NO Ward / theatre furniture
NO Items needing refrigeration e.g. Insulins and vaccines NO Artificial limbs
NO food supplements or baby food NO Calipers
NO Cytotoxic agents NO Crutches
NO Benzediazepines No Colostomy items, leg and bed bags
NO Movicol NO urinary catheters, leg and bed bags
No Insulin pens NO Compression Hose
  NO Blood Glucose Testing kits
  NO Mercury sphygmomanometers or thermometers


If in doubt, please contact Inter Care on 0116 269 5925 or email medicines@intercare.org.uk


Thank you,


John Horton.











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