Not your average city traders

By Daniel Jones | 2 July 2010

Many would argue that 1970’s London was a city in trouble. For Dr John and Dorothy Davies – after 10 years service in Nepal and North India – it was the perfect urban mission opportunity. If only they could afford to live there.

When they returned from Nepal in 1970 they had no capital, no proof of income and absolutely no way to get started in London as they hoped. Fast forward 40 years and John and Dorothy Davies are now, as retired Senior Citizens, finally living out this long held vision with transformational results. We catch a few minutes on the phone to talk about their story, but time is scarce as Dorothy is busy preparing a curry lunch to bid farewell to some friends about to return for their annual stint in Nepal.

The energy, passion and drive of this couple is quite remarkable and there is not much sign of slowing down. For proof just look at how and to whom they give: “Our priorities at present,” says Dorothy “are overseas mission, urban mission, resourcing the church, resourcing those working for the church, resourcing London churches by helping to house their key workers, and personal support for individual Christians dependent on regular donations.”

Where possible they make full use of their Stewardship account to manage this giving, “At our stage in life it relieves us of the hassle and burden of making gifts, so we can be free to use our time in other ways.” Back in 1970, and settling at the seaside (Clacton-on-Sea, followed by Frinton-on-Sea, to be precise) seems like an unusual move for aspiring urban missionaries. But for the Davies it was a crucial stepping stone and, in hindsight, the laying of foundations for something much bigger than they could have imagined.

“We moved to Frinton-On-Sea where I was blessed to be able to establish a Christian medical practice.” John continues: “This provided us with a serious income to direct to focused giving – much of it related to London where our hearts were still set.”

On John’s final retirement from medicine in 2002 they sold their home and headed to Bethnal Green. The irony of retiring from Frinton on Sea to London is not lost on the couple, but as Dorothy shares, this is where their giving gets integrated with living. As Dorothy shares, “if you want to do more than just give, if you want to be envisioned then it is good to be – if at all possible – among the people you have a heart to support”. That’s exactly where God led them.

And that is exactly what the Davies are now doing. Remembering their heartache of not having the resources to minister to the city of London in 1970, the couple with five others of like mind set up ACHAL, the Affordable Christian Housing Association Limited. That was in 1988 so their legacy over the years would be the provision of affordable accommodation for Christian workers in London who would otherwise “be squeezed out of London because prices were beyond them.” Over 22 years others have come on board with finance and management
and God has enabled many to stay on to serve in London by having accommodation provided. 2010 has become another significant milestone as a Chief Executive Officer has just been appointed for ACHAL.

With our time nearly through, it is John who has the last word: “Our account with Stewardship has meant we can be focused to give where it counts. Living in London helps us pray and support those committed to serve God here. Our latest thrill is the football club for young homeless men; some with addictions helped practically, others have come to faith. And seeing five young couples being married and committed to stay in London; our heart is with the next generation! It is a wonderful, vibrant life for which we praise God!”

For more information on ACHAL visit www.achal.org.uk

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Daniel Jones
Posted by Daniel Jones

Daniel is Stewardship’s Chief Generosity Officer and is passionate about finding new and innovative ways to encourage and inspire Christians in their giving, and helping those who receive to do so with excellence. Daniel advises denominations on stewardship and giving, and is a serial trustee of small community organisations. Follow Daniel on Twitter: @dmjonesoir

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