Network Norwich and Norfolk > People > People Archive > Counting pennies a good discipline says pastor

Counting pennies a good discipline says pastor

2008: MarkFairweatherTallA Norwich minister said he had got “better discipline in my life and in my commitment to God” after spending the Lent period living on Jobseekers' Allowance.

Norwich Central Baptist Church pastor Mark Fairweather-Tall (pictured right) decided to embark on the experiment as a way of reflecting on his use of money.

For the last six weeks he has been living on £59.15 per week and promised to donate the money saved from his salary between two good causes - a Bulgarian orphanage and a church trip to South Africa planned for later this year.

He said he found the effort to live on Jobseekers' Allowance “challenging” and has learnt practical ways to live more cheaply and efficiently, such as cycling and walking wherever possible and by preparing meals from scratch.

MarkBurzitsaOrphanageMore unexpected for Mark was the impact this experiment had on his friendships - as he could not afford the same social life he was used to or be as generous as he might like to be.

He said: “Every time I said 'no' to someone because I couldn't afford to join in and every time I went shopping and saw the things I couldn't buy, it reminded me about temptation. This experiment has brought greater discipline to my life and in my commitment to God.”

Mark has donated £500 towards the Burzitsa orphange in Bulgaria (pictured right) and a church mission to South Africa .

You can read about Mark's experiences on his blog at

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