St John’s and St Bartholomew’s churches in the parish of Kirkheaton worked together to raise four times their original target for their ‘Toilet Twinning’ project to help flush away unsanitary loos.
Initially, the churches aimed to twin all eight of toilets found across both churches, meaning eight new toilets would be provided in poverty-stricken areas across the world.
Instead, the £2,160 raised through this Lenten project was enough to sponsor 36 toilets, including two toilet blocks for schools in deprived areas!
Revd Richard Steel, Rector of Kirkheaton, says, “I have a strong feeling there will be more to come!”
The image on the left shows a group from the parish of Kirkheaton holding the churches' certificates for the 'Toilet Twinning'.
So far, the church has sponsored toilets to be built in Nepal, Uganda, Philippines, Nigeria, Liberia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the school blocks of toilets in Chad and Haiti.
Revd Steel mentions, “Due to the publicity we’ve had someone else who has twinned one in Pakistan as a birthday present for her husband.
“Another three have been sponsored as an alternative Baptism gift for a baby of a congregational member!
“So that’s 36 now, and we continue to have collection boxes in our toilets.”
The image on the right shows a group from Grange Moor holding the church's certificates for the 'Toilet Twinning'.
Allison Howitt, a member of the parish in Kirkheaton and a retired health visitor, encouraged the project after witnessing the terrible sanitation and its devastating effects on her visit to Liberia a few years ago.
Allison says, “I wanted to follow Jesus’ example of love. I don’t believe he would just stand by and do nothing.
“The letter of James which talks about putting out faith into action meant I wanted to get involved in a practical example of Christian love and care.”
Revd Richard Steel, says, “With 2.5 billion people – 40% of the world’s population – not having anywhere safe, clean or hygienic to go to the toilet, more than 50% of hospital beds in developing countries are taken up by people who are sick with an illness caused by dirty water or lack of sanitation. We just had to act.”
Revd Steel adds, “It was taken up with enthusiasm by our church members, young and old alike.
“As well as having collecting boxes in church and people’s homes, a local pub, the Beaumont Arms, gave the proceeds from one of their Quiz nights and a number of individuals wrote cheques out straight away.
“We even had someone offer to sponsor a further toilet when we announced the result!”
The image above shows landlord Miguel Spiteri in the toilet at the Beaumont Arms with the pub's certificate for the 'Toilet Twinning'.
Revd Steel mentions, “Each twinned toilet gets a framed photograph of the toilet theirs is twinned with, including a photo and a GPS coordinate!
“We have more than we can display in our church toilets so the pub now has their own certificate, and a number of church families who helped raise the money do too, so the idea is being introduced to more and more people.”
Allison Howitt who encouraged the project, claims, “I believe that God’s heart is for the poor and sick throughout the earth.
“Many thanks to all those who helped us raise this fantastic amount to help flush away poverty.”
To find out more details about ‘Toilet Twinning’, please visit the website: http://www.toilettwinning.org/