With its motto "We believe in life before death.” Christian Aid works in more than fifty countries, helping people regardless of religion or race to improve their own lives and tackle the causes of poverty and injustice. A small group in the Cathedral works to involve us all in Christian Aid Week and their other appeals.
CATHEDRAL CALLS ON THE PRIME MINISTER TO “LIGHT THE WAY” AND “CHANGE THE STORY” FOR PEOPLE FLEEING CONFLICT
Senior Church leaders and congregation at St Edmundsbury Cathedral have signed a giant Christmas card to the Prime Minister calling on her and the Government to show more concern for the 65 million people forced from their homes because of conflict around the world.
Numbers have increased dramatically in the last two years in what has become the worst global displacement crisis of our time.
The card asks Theresa May “Will you help light the way for those fleeing violence, fear and desperation? …please ensure your words reflect our proud tradition as a nation that welcomes those in need and your policies offer hope to those looking for a safe place to call home.”
This is the culmination of an exhibition which has been hosted during Advent in partnership with aid agency Christian Aid who works with people in warzones like Syria, Iraq and Congo.
People in the UK can feel very powerless, but we can “light the way” by donating to Christian Aid’s work at Christmas which will enable trusted partner organisations who work in these countries to bring much needed support.
The Rev Canon Philip Banks, Cathedral Precentor said: "I believe that walking with people who are living 'on the edge' is something which we are called to do as human beings and as Christians.
“At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the one who brought healing for hurts, joy in sadness and light in darkness.
“Christian Aid's campaign seeks to do this and encourage us all to help in the task."
The Bishop of Dunwich, the Rt Rev Mike Harrison, said: “It's easy to forget that many of us have in our own family history a period when our ancestors were refugees - certainly that history is present in my family and I am eternally grateful for those whose generosity and hospitality enabled my predecessors to find sanctuary and safety.
“Our Lord also was a refugee - what more incentive do we need to open our hearts in solidarity and compassion?”
Suffolk was recently host to Marija Vranesevic who works for Christian Aid’s Orthodox church partner in Serbia, Philanthropy.
They offer urgently needed help and welcome to people fleeing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
She spoke movingly of her own experience working with people in desperate need who’ve lost family members in the conflict zones or on their journey to Serbia.
Change the story
Using a very large world map and short personal stories, visitors to the Cathedral and the congregation have been encouraged to challenge our own prejudices and stories in our media which dehumanise people who’ve had to look for safety within or beyond their own countries.
The exhibition has sought to show the human face of people in need such as these, who are deserving of respect and dignity.
Christian Aid’s Regional Coordinator Simon Snell, said: “We are so grateful for the clear message of solidarity and support from the Cathedral during Advent for people forced to leave their homes because of conflict.
“The need is great, and we want to thank everyone who has supported our appeal and the “Change the story” campaign.”
The “light the way” exhibition will continue during Advent and the card will go to Mrs May before Christmas.
It’s not too late to make a donation www.christianaid.org.uk/christmas and learn more about our Change the Story campaign at www.christianaid.org.uk/changethestory