Charis Tiwala is pleased to announce the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as its patron.
Charis, which began with outreach in 2008 and was registered as a charity in 2014, works with women in the sex industry.
Charis keyworkers and volunteers reach out to women by visiting establishments such as saunas, and offering chaplaincy and befriending services. Charis aims to engage at whatever the point of need is with the utmost care and respect for each person.
During the week, Charis staff build relationships with women in different ways, including baking courses, Bible studies, Pilates classes and assistance with sexual health.
Charis exists to give people in the sex industry the opportunity for choice again (where so many of their choices have previously been taken from them); a choice to exit if they wish, and a choice to rebuild a new life as they would choose to live it.
The founder and director of Charis, who we haven’t named for safeguarding reasons, says, “For those who work at Charis, Jesus has totally changed our lives. We want the women to know Jesus loves them, and can change their lives too if they want that. Some of the women have been very open to faith and God. It’s been an incredible journey for us as a team.
“We have seen some of the women leave the industry and get new jobs. Some have become Christians. The other side is that we’ve seen women being horrifically exploited, and one woman who was murdered. But it is a privilege to do this work and see the difference that God can make in people’s lives.”
Charis receives funding from churches and individual donors. Archbishop Justin first visited Charis in October 2015 and has been a keen advocate of its work.
“If you want to see the kind of things Jesus Christ is doing in the world, take notice of Charis,” he says. “If you want to experience the hope this Jesus Christ brings, meet the women of Charis. If you want to weigh up the cost of serving in Jesus Christ’s name, consider the faith of the women who began Charis. If you want to show your love for Jesus Christ and the transformation he brings, support his work through the ministry of Charis.”
The Charis team say, “It’s an honour to have Archbishop Justin as a patron of Charis. We hope it will encourage church leaders to engage with some of the issues that women who are sex workers face, and to advocate for them. Women in the sex industry often feel isolated, unseen and unvalued, our hope is that this will give them a sense of being seen and valued.”
Charis would welcome financial and prayer support. To find out more about its work, visit www.charistiwala.com