At the Bistro night on 2 February there will be two events going on to which you are invited. Alice Trull will hold a drop off point for clothes for refugees in Calais. There is a list here of the items she would like on the facebook event. https://www.facebook.com/events/159813944667544/ Please bring what you can.
This is going on at the same time as the event raising money for Christian Aid and All Hallows’ Church Roof. This is a clothes swap or SWISH so if you are having a clear out this January, please bring your preloved clothes and go home with lots of new ones to love! https://www.facebook.com/events/1002475066551322/
Fabulous filling food, helping refugees and new clothes for ourselves at the same time as raising vital funds! Please come along and like and SHARE the FB events.
Like all good stories about refugees, some of the bits get muddled and we have to work things out and put them in the right order! On Christmas Eve the refugee family met the youngest member of the All Hallows community, baby Maeve. Here they all are under the Christmas tree.
There is no rest for the Refugee Family even though Christmas Day has been and gone! Whilst many of us can sit back and relax or go for gentle walks (or runs!) to work off the excesses, the Refugee Family have moved on again, this time to the home of Marcus and Kyle. If you look carefully at the last picture it looks like the shepherds are gossiping away about the visiting Wise Men!
Christmas day and the Refugee Family have made it safe and sound back to All Hallows’ in time for the Christmas service. Yesterday Heston talked about how God works in the chaos of our lives, well, we had plenty of chaos this morning with chocolates flying through the air, Emily and a million volunteers preparing Christmas dinner for 120+ people, a film crew and two fire crews. Maybe the million volunteers is a bit of an exaggeration but there were lots of amazing volunteers!
So Christmas Day has arrived but the Christmas season hasn’t finished so the Refugee Family will be visiting a few more homes yet.
The holy family have been sharing the stable with their Happyland (ask a parent of young children) equivalents for the past few days. I’ve been pondering how to explain the Christmas story to someone who has never heard it before and is experiencing Christmas for the first time. I’ve been using the nativity set and the Jesus bible Storybook to introduce my 2 year old to the story. He definitely understands that Christmas means parties, Santa and presents but I’m hoping he has also begun to understand that whilst these things are very nice, we are really celebrating something even more special, the birth of baby Jesus.
Holy family and friends cosy and warm in the Fishwicks’ strawbale home despite frosty chill outside.
They are on the move again and meeting new friends. Throughout Advent this knitted Holy Family and “friends” will be travelling around the Leeds area seeking refuge in the homes of anyone who cares to look after them for a night or two. This gives us a chance to think about what it means to be a refugee and also to reflect on those special refugees of 2000 years ago.
Their first stop this Advent was with Jan, brother otter, sister penguin and other friends.
“Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!” (from The Christian Resource Institute website)
On Sunday morning we welcomed Ntambwe Nkombe, released from internment by the Home Office after a failed attempt to deport him back to the Congo where he would probably have been killed due to his opposition to the government of that country. It was fantastic to see his smiling face and to celebrate the hope that justice might prevail in his situation. He has a long way to go still before he is safe, he has restrictions on his movement, he has to report regularly to a police station and he still has to convince the High Court that he should be allowed to stay here.
Despite these issues, Ntambwe was able to celebrate his release and he sang a song of praise which we were able to join in the chorus.
If you wish to know more and / or wish to show your support for Ntambwe please visit the campaign page on change.org
Ntambwe is from the the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). At the time of writing he is in detention pending forced deportation back to the Congo, scheduled for Friday 10th November. He has been seeking asylum since 2001. DRC is a country with a secret service who put political opposition leaders into prison and who kill them or disappear them. They are far from democratic. Ntambwe was active as a student opposing the regime and he is still active in the resistance movement APARECO.
If you agree with that he should not be deported back to the DRC where he will be far from safe please sign up to the campaign on change.org.
If you would like to find other ways to help please contact us here or via our Facebook page.