The various groups assisting those in need in the community are listed below.

Covenant with the Poor
        -  Live Simply
        -  Live Simply Action
Aid to the Church in Need
Justice and Peace
St Vincent de Paul
        -  Housebound and the Needy of the Parish
        -  Spires
        -  Manna Centre
        -  Wandsworth Food Bank
        -  Wandsworth Prison

Caring Kitchen

Covenant with the Poor

Making a Preferential Option for the Poor

In the year 2000, St Anselm's Parish marked the millennium by making a covenant with the poor. This was inspired by the then pope, Saint John Paul II who called for greater action to combat poverty and injustice.

St John Paul declared the year 2000 as a Great Year of Jubilee to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

In anticipation of the millennium he issued an Apostolic Letter emphasizing "the Church's preferential option for the poor and the outcast." (Tertio Millennio Adveniente). We are all familiar with jubilee celebrations. We celebrate a silver jubilee after twenty five years and a golden jubilee after fifty years. St John Paul explained that the idea of the jubilee year is rooted in the Old Testament. According to the Law of Moses, a "sabbatical year" was to be held every seventh year. It was a time especially dedicated to God during which the earth was left fallow, slaves were set free and all debts were cancelled.

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(Catholic Agency Funding Overseas Development)

The official international development and relief agency of the Catholic Church of England and Wales. It builds long term partnership with local organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America to build a better world for people living in extreme poverty whatever their race, nationality or religion.

It works to persuade the governments and institutions in the UK and overseas to change unjust policies that trap people in poverty.

It also focuses on creating sustainable livelihoods combating HIV and Aids as well as peace building.

In an emergency CAFOD provides immediate relief and supports long-term programmer to rebuild people's lives.

Support: There are two weekend collections in a year, Lenten Family Fast Day and Harvest Fast Day. Campaign workers are supplied with the relevant information for attention of the parish. This is pinned on the notice board inside the church.

Contact Thelma Lewis c/o the Parish Office 020 8672 2179.

Live Simply

Live simply registration
In the year 2000, St Anselm's Parish marked the millennium by making a covenant with the poor. This was inspired by the then pope, Saint John Paul II who called for greater action to combat poverty and injustice.

St John Paul declared the year 2000 as a Great Year of Jubilee to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

LIVE SIMPLY ACTION (download pdf)

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Aid to the Church in Need

At St Anselm's we're very lucky. Nobody threatens us for going to Mass, we're not going to end up unemployed for admitting to being Christians; our church is not in imminent danger of being blown up, we don't know neighbours or friends who have been abducted or killed by extremists. Unfortunately, in other parts of the world, one or more of these terrifying scenarios has happened - indeed it sometimes happens frequently.

Fr Will and the Parish Team have been very kind in enabling me to keep the parish updated with the work I do for the International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Travelling with ACN, I have met young people in Nigeria wounded and blinded during an attack on their church, I have met priests from Iraq who have been kidnapped and tortured, I have spoken to children in Sudan whose schools have been destroyed, I have travelled to eastern India and met tens of thousands of Christians whose villages have been razed to the ground and in China I have met Underground bishops in secret locations.

ACN's late founder, Father Werenfried van Straaten, a man St John Paul II named an "Apostle of Charity", famously said: "They are being tested in faith; we are being tested in love". Thanks to your kind acts of charity - prayer, information and giving - ACN fulfils each year 5,000 projects in 140 countries worldwide - with your help, we give food, shelter and medicine for Christians fleeing persecution, we offer Christian education and catechesis to young people, we provide training for seminarians and Sisters, we build and repair churches.

For more information about ACN, contact www.acnuk.org or get in contact with me via the parish.

At St Anselm's, I help Fr Will with the altar servers. I have the rather grand title of 'Master of Ceremonies' which in practice often means putting chairs out, checking there are enough altar breads, telling new servers to go left or right and ensuring our priests have what they need on the altar. I have been doing this work off and on at various churches since 1985 when I was 9. It is always a privilege to serve Mass because it is here that we encounter our Blessed Lord - body, soul and divinity. We recognise the apparent paradox of God enfleshed in something as small as a piece of wafer-bread and yet as infinite and inscrutable as a world beyond our imagination. We altar servers try to work efficiently and discreetly. Reverence is our watch word. If we had a 'mission statement' it would be to help people grow in love for the Sacramental life of the Church, to help them to pray and to play our small part in building up our community of faith so that it becomes a beacon of hope in an often dark and disillusioned world.

Aid to the Church in Need website: http://www.acnuk.org

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Justice and Peace

"Justice is an essential part of the Christian message and without it there can be no real faith" (World Synod of Catholic Bishops 1971)

Following this synod, Archbishop Bowen wrote a pastoral letter on justice highlighting the challenge:

"All over the world, people are crying out for justice, and they look to the Church for a response in deeds rather than words. The modern social teaching of the Church has been proclaimed in admirable documents for the last 120 years. The doctrines are there. The problem is to put them into practice... one is still left wondering how it is that, after 120 years of modern social teaching and two thousand years of the Gospel of Love, the Church has failed to make more impact on the consciences of her own people and on the world at large".

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Saint Vincent de Paul

The local SVP "conference" is a vital part of our covenant with the poor.

Housebound and the Needy of the Parish

The Needy of the Parish are served by the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Their benefits are similar to the housebound including assistance with shopping, paying bills, accompanying them to their GP or hospital in the main.

Parishioners are asked to keep an eye on this group of people and report to the Parish Team anyone requiring a visit or assistance of any kind.

The SVP also provides clothing, food and Vinnie Packs to homeless charities such as the Manna Centre and the Spires.

St Anselm's SVP conference is twinned with St Mary's conference in Kannoth, India providing help with education, agriculture and self help projects for widows.

SPIRES: Working locally with homeless and disadvantaged people.

Spires street link project has been announced as one of the top three finalists of the London Wide Andy Ludlow homelessness awards. Spires will win a cash prize of either £10, £15 or £30,000. Such amount will help the project expand its services to help even more vulnerable women involved in street based sex work.

Our parish and the Society of St Vincent de Paul make monthly donations of food and clothing and this year's Christmas appeal to parishioners will be for Vinnie packs as they were a success last year. Occasionally there have been requests for financial assistance this has been met by the SVP.

The Manna Society

To relieve poor persons who are homeless and / or unemployed by the provision of food, shelter and other forms of Christian care with the object of promoting the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of such persons and of improving their conditions of life.

Our vision is the creation of a just society that respects the dignity of every individual; it is a place of unconditional acceptance; our task as we see it is not to judge but to love.

The parishioners respond to this compassionate and practical effort by donating food, toiletries and clothing once a year as well as unwanted household items throughout the year.

Wandsworth Food Bank

The SVP also supports the Wandsworth Food Bank. St Anselm's supports the national food bank network by working with St Paul's Church, Wellham Road, providing groceries to help people who are unemployed or barely managing.

How can you help?

  1. By donating cash.
  2. Helping to distribute vouchers.
  3. Donating food, toiletries etc.
At St Anselm's we have elected to donate food and are working with the clergy at St Paul's Church, Welham Road. Parishioners are very generous in their giving.

Wandsworth Prison

There are between 340-360 Catholic inmates at any one time. On the first Thursday of the month there is a midday Mass and the priest is available to hear confession afterwards. Throughout the year reading material (books) are collected and sent from the parish and at Christmas time rosaries, diaries and calendars are donated by the parishioners for the inmates.

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Caring Kitchen

Caring Kitchen is our new initiative to provide a friendly place and caring environment to enjoy a home-made lunch. The service provides a sandwich, soup and cake to members of the community including anyone in the parish who would like to come along.

Where: old hall (St Anselm's Church, Balham High Road, SW17 7BS) from 12.00noon - 2.00pm.

For enquiries please contact caringkitchensw@gmail.com

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