“I was a stranger and you welcomed me”

Many of us will be familiar with these words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew.

A day-long conference is being held to look at how we can welcome and support refugees and asylum seekers in our churches and in our communities.

As strangers going through a uncertain time in an unfamiliar place this conference will give Christians the tools they need to welcome refugees and asylum seekers into our faith communities.

Workshops will take place and there will be an address from the Anglican Bishop of Whitby, The Rt. Rev. Paul Ferguson.

The conference will take place on Saturday 11th October, 9.30am-4pm at The Trinity Centre, North Ormesby, MIddlesbrough (off the market place).

Booking is essential for refreshment and catering purposes. Those wishing to attend should visit http://www.church-asylumseekers.eventbrite.com or contact Barbara Edwards by calling (01642) 812622.

For more information see the attached poster: Asylumeventflier (1)

Modern Day Slavery – a night of film with Q&A

There will be a night of film with Q&A on the issue of Modern Day Slavery, taking pace on Tuesday 30th September at The Trinity Centre, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough (off the market place).

The event is organised by the Diocese of Middlesbrough Women’s Commission and is part of their efforts to make Middlesbrough a ‘traffik free zone’.

For more information, see the attached poster here: MiddlesbroughA4poster21_8

Remembering the ‘Richmond 16’

Richmond16 photoThe ‘Richmond 16’ were remembered in a special service which took place in the Cockpit garden at Richmond Castle on September 6th.

As reported in July’s Catholic Voice, these were men in the North East who took a stand for pacifism when conscription was introduced in 1916.

Detained in the cells at Richmond Castle they believed they were going to be executed but it did not deter them from a deeply held belief that killing their fellow men was in opposition to the teachings of Christ by which they lived.

They paved the way for a new public attitude to conscientious objection and, subsequently, Britain was one of the first countries to enact any kind of legal provision for conscientious objectors.

Sentenced to death when they were sent to France, the sentence was commuted to 10 years penal servitude which for most of them became many years of public hostility and rejection.

We gathered in the garden where there are 16 topiaries, grown to commemorate them. We placed a wreath of red poppies to remember so many who had died in the First World War before naming each of the 16 and placing a white poppy alongside their name circling the wreath.

An excerpt from an article by Clifford Cartwright – one of the 16 – states: “The attitude of those who decided that war was contrary to the teachings of the great Law-giver, has left its mark on the pages of history and, although small in number, the history of the C.O. will live whilst the story of the world war is told.”

One hundred years later, there is an overwhelming need for peace making. Our service of remembrance – organised by the Justice and Peace Commission – concluded by praying for Peace and singing what had become the favourite hymn of the ‘16’ – ‘Nearer My God to Thee’.

In an amazing symbolic ‘coincidence’ there were 16 of us taking part in the commemoration.

-Barbara Hungin