Happy Easter from CNI Network. Whilst this is the most unusual Easter many of us will have encountered we can still celebrate the person of Jesus who offers love, life, forgiveness, hope, peace, freedom and purpose to each and every person even (or especially) in this time of the worldwide pandemic.

As I have shared in various radio interviews over the last few days, this weekend would be one of our busiest for Street Angels and Club Angels teams. The first Bank Holiday of the year, the warmer weather and longer days usually mean pubs and clubs are full, and our teams are busy helping those who are or could become vulnerable. Instead, as I have started to phone round project coordinators, I am hearing of our amazing volunteers responding in new ways: setting up phone numbers to offer shopping, meals on wheels or for people to chat and pray; people becoming NHS Volunteers; working with the local authority to set up community hubs; volunteering with Food Banks. One volunteer centre has had over 160 responses to a social media call-out for new volunteers!

We are not sure when or what our communities, especially at night and events such as festivals, will look like once this is over. CNI Network is encouraging our local projects to take this time to look at new ways of working, to be pioneering and innovative, to look at how we can support those who work within the industries we work alongside.

At this time we also want to say thank you to those who stand with CNI Network financially. This is a difficult time for all charities with many having to furlough staff teams and cut back on the services they deliver.

The trustees of CNI Network took the decision not to furlough Paul or Katie (our CEO and Yorkshire Regional Coordinator) as there is still a role supporting and connecting with our local projects, sharing ideas and resources, responding to new areas of need, keeping up with social media and the website, planning for festivals and events in the late summer/autumn and developing new ideas that help promote both CNI Network and our local projects.

We have just prepared our balance sheet for 2019/20, and this is available here – as you can see, we are a small charity with an annual expenditure of £44,500 in the last financial year. We think we do an incredible amount of Kingdom bringing activity with a relatively small amount!

We are thankful to individuals, local projects, businesses and church communities who support us and enable CNI Network to do what we do. There will be a potential shortfall of a few thousand over the next few months as planned talks/conferences and festival work is cancelled or postponed. Thank you to those individuals and local projects who have offered us finance to help CNI Network through this time – it means a lot! If you can donate (and if all our newsletter list and social media friends gave £1 it would cover most of this months expenditure) visit cninetwork.org/donate

This Easter weekend is a call to look to the hope beyond the now. To look for new life. To see the world through a different lens. Jesus is the one who, through his death and resurrection, offers a different way of doing things and a different perspective. Let us share this good news this Easter weekend!