January
13
2020
Author
Richard Wilson
KAR Kings Auto Repairs

Within every church there will be people with skills that can be put to use to serve their local community in practical ways. King's Auto Repairs (KAR), part of the ministry of The King’s Church Mid-Sussex, was born out of the God-given vision of one man. With a background in the motor industry and a heart for those in need, Pete Williamson asked God how he could serve others with his skills.

Car ownership? 

While climate change or living more sustainability may be leading us to re-consider the use of our cars, we still live in a society where for most people access to a car is a necessity. In a large city with good public transport life without a car is an option, but for most of us modern life is very difficult without one.  

Perhaps you have never had to consider the real-life issues for those with limited money and resources at a time of reducing public transport options. A car means not missing essential schooling or not needing to change school if the local council relocates your family to new accommodation beyond the normal walk to school. A car enables those struggling with ill health to get to vital medical appointments.  A car allows shopping at a supermarket to take advantage of bulk-buy offers that you wouldn't otherwise be able to carry home. A car means not being limited with where you can take a job. With your own car you can get to church without relying on lifts from friends  and, positively, you can give lifts to friends, and so serve others instead of always needing to be served. 

The need 

KAR exists to help those who have an essential need for a car but, because of financial hardship, are unable to afford to buy or maintain their vehicle. The KAR website states, "We can become reliant upon cars but when they go wrong they can cause us big headaches and large bills."  

Within Mid-Sussex, 24% of the population live in rural areas and it is people living on low incomes in these areas who face significant disadvantages relating to the availability of services and transport. For four years now KAR has been providing free car servicing and repairs for people who have an essential need for a car but face unexpected bills and serious financial difficulty. The work focuses on three areas. 

1) Loaning and Donating Cars 

KAR currently have seven cars loaned out or donated to those in financial need. Their loan cars are currently getting children to school and people to work in cases where there is no viable public transport option. As one grateful recipient says, "Without Kings Auto Repairs my children would have missed out on the last few weeks of the school term so it has made a massive difference." 

2) Car Repairs 

Since the ministry started, 80 separate repairs, of which 26 included MOTs, have been completed, enabling the recipients to keep their cars on the road to meet essential transport needs. Many of those who access the KAR service are single parents, already struggling to make ends meet. broken-down car can be the last straw. Again, this testimony speaks for itself: "Without this service I don’t what I would have done.” 

3) The Gospel in Word and Deed 

Alongside providing loans and repairs to cars, referrals can also be made to other agencies including other ministries run by The King's Church such as the Debt Advice service and Hope Into Action (HIA), which provides accommodation for those who are homeless or facing homelessness. One recipient who was living in his car when KAR repaired it, is now housed in one the church’s HIA houses, for example. He recently shared his story with the church and was able to say, “A great big Thank You. A life saver.”  

Hand in hand with practical works come opportunities to share the Gospel, too. Those served by KAR understand that the work is done as an expression of the Christian faith and a number of recipients have attended church or Alpha courses for the first time in many years. Clients are regularly invited to Church events.  


The future
 

Although the number of people in need keeps growing, God’s favour is evident in that KAR now regularly receives referrals from Mid Sussex District Council and other local agencies. Local schools are also making referrals to the ministry. 

Currently this appears to be a fairly unique ministry but an essential one that could be multiplied where churches have similar gifts in their ranks. Check out the website to learn more.