Question: What do all your church members have in common except Jesus?

Answer: They all like pancakes. 

There aren’t many I’ve met who would refuse one, especially not on Shrove Tuesday. You can even make them gluten free or vegan so really no one has to feel left out!

With this in mind, last year at Christians Against Poverty, we launched the Flipping Marvellous Pancake Party free resource pack for churches – and the feedback was immediate. Hundreds and hundreds of churches signed up to help us raise awareness and funds while giving people another reason to find fellowship.


Youth groups and children seemed especially keen to give poverty a battering, so to speak.

I first heard about CAP in 1997 when I was working as a newspaper reporter in Bradford. A press release landed on my desk from John Kirkby. It was his first one, as it turned out. I went to meet him and discovered it was essentially a two-man operation helping local families from the spare room of his home.

Roll on 22 years and you can imagine how I pinch myself sometimes when at a staff prayers I’m surrounded by 350 fellow CAP colleagues, who serve a 600-strong church network helping tens of thousands of people a year. 

Every day through our combined efforts, people in great need are finding relief from crushing stress, bringing order to their finances and discovering the life-transforming love of God. However motivated John was back then (and he was!) he would be the first to say that only God could have made all this happen.

One of CAP’s debt centres, in Whitstable, operates thanks to the support of ten local churches working together. Last year, they staged a CAP pancake party at the Harbour Church and raised a wonderful £611 towards the work.

Whitstable Debt Centre Manager Joyce Mitchell said: We cooked and served fresh pancakes to all from midday to 2pm and there was a table for guests to help themselves labelled the filling station’ and lots of information about the service we offer. It was a great day with lots of good conversations and contacts made.”

This year, CAP is hoping for even more people to support us on Shrove Tuesday. We really need them to. In January, more people called for help than in any month in 23 years and in the first days of February, we broke the record for the number of calls in a single day, each one representing a family at breaking point, worried for their home and full of fear.

If you could see inside Jubilee Mill, where CAP is based, you’d also see a wall of thank you cards from people who say the service literally saved their lives. It’s a beautiful and humbling thing to read their words of gratitude.

So, whether it’s lemon and sugar or a chocolatey option, I hope you’ll grab that frying pan and back us. 

Me? Well, safe to say, on Shrove Tuesday, I’ll be the one with flour on my face surrounded by our church youth group.

For CAP’s free resources visit capuk​.org/​p​a​n​c​a​k​e​party