Refugees crossing the Mediterranean

The Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) and others involved in support for migrants on land, at sea and in the skies are strengthening their collaboration.

The humanitarian corridors programme, an ecumenical project developed by the FCEI’s Mediterranean Hope team with the Comunità di Sant’Egidio in 2015 is now in its second phase. It has produced legacy corridors enabling over 2,000 migrants to travel safely and legally to Italy, France, Belgium & Andorra from the Middle East & from sub-Saharan Africa.

This pioneering spirit remained in evidence on 20 December as the FCEI unveiled its collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at work in the Mediterranean and its support for the communities in Calabria which have provided the world with a model for welcoming migrants.

The FCEI, which has already been collaborating for over a year with Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms (POA), will now extend financial, material and logistical support to Sea-Watch and to Pilotes Volontaires.  Support for the communities in Calabria will be more nuanced, taking account of the difficult economic conditions in which these communities find themselves.(World Council of Churches)

(The FCEI, formed in 1967, has members including the Union of Waldensian Churches (Waldensian Evangelical Church and Methodist Evangelical Church) and other historical Protestant Churches.)

Embrace the Middle East

Embrace the Middle East is a Christian charity originally set up in 1854 as The Turkish Mission Society, principally working among Armenian Christians in Turkey.  Its name was changed in 1893 to The Bible Lands Mission Aid Society and in1962 to The Bible Lands Society; further alterations occurred in 1996 to BibleLands and in 2012 to Embrace the Middle East.

Embrace ME works with and to support Christian communities doing life-changing work in countries of the Near and Middle East, including Turkey, Syria, Egypt, the Balkans, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Cyprus, with projects currently in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria.  It works actively with 16 partners  with focus particularly on education, healthcare, community development, often relating to refugees from with and outwith the area.

During 2019, Mark, one of Embrace ME’s Regional Managers will be running every single pilgrimage route across Scotland and the north of England to raise awareness & funds, including an Edinburgh Fun Run on Sunday 22ndSeptember.

the Connexion magazine Winter 2019

The January 2019 (issue 13) is now available.

This edition has the theme of “journeying”, and includes an article by the past Vice-President of Conference, Jill Baker (Strathclyde Circuit) on “pilgrimage”, an insight into the shared journey of two Methodists with different views on aspects of sexuality, and an exploration of travelling together ecumenically by the new Connexional Ecumenical Officer, Ruth Gee.

Redevelopment meeting postponed

The redevelopment group meeting planned for 15th January has been postponed until after the all-church meeting on 20th January.  It is hoped that the congregation will make progress in considering the shape of its future, and how the building might contribute to that vision.

The Methodist Modern Art Collection

In the early 1906s John Morel Gibbs, a Methodist layman and art collector, became keenly aware that Non-Conformist traditions demonstrated no deep appreciation of insights into the Bible through the works of contemporary artists; he therefore decided to create a collection of original works to tour the country.  In this, he was assisted by the Rev Douglas Wollen, also an art-lover. These works became the nucleus of the now widely-appreciated Methodist Modern Art Collection.

The Collection includes works by artists from over the past 100 years, from within and furth of Great Britain; it is still expanding and now comprises 54 paintings, prints, drawings reliefs and mosaic works.  Although care and maintenance is provided by the Methodist Church, funds from charitable sources are often used for purchases.  The Collection – as originally intended – tours the country; it is also available to view online, with some works also in postcard format.

Letters of thanks

Recipients of the Armistice Day retiring offering have expressed gratitude for our support of their work, providing the following information:

Help for Heroes: “Thousands of Servicemen and women are living with injuries and illnesses – both physical and mental – each and every day.  Together with their loved ones they continue to need our help to cope with the challenges they face.  Your support means they won’t have to battle alone.  Long-term recovery is more than repairing damaged bodies and minds; it’s about rebuilding lives.  Our mission is to deliver an enduring network of support to help our Heroes with their challenges and to go to live active independent and fulfilling lives.  This is at the heart of everything we do.”

One beneficiary has said – “Thanks with all my heart for being there for me and others.  Please don’t go away. One way or another, we’re going to need you for the rest of our lives.”

Blesma –The Limbless Veterans: “(We are) dedicated to the support of all serving and ex-Service men and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes, empowering them to lead independent and fulfilling lives.  We support our Members, both young and old, for life.  Just as we are still caring for our Second World War veterans, we also care for our younger generation, from recent conflicts that have survived complex trauma injury and will need specialised support as they age.  Rehabilitation, advocacy, counselling, and care are the four principles of our Association.  We work tirelessly to provide practical, emotional and financial support to injured veterans and their families as they rebuild their lives.”

Indonesia Tsunami Appeal

Following a request from All We Can to consider supporting their emergency work with others and particularly their local connections in Indonesia, there will be a retiring offering next Sunday, 13th January  to facilitate donations to them in support of the relief and rehabilitation work for victims of this disaster.  However, in the following couple of weeks, further donations can also be given to David Easson (Church Treasurer) for forwarding.

Indonesian tsunamis

All We Can is delivering humanitarian aid through partners on the ground, both in the Sulawesi province, following the earthquake and tsunami upheavals of late September, and also in the Sunda Strait villages after the more recent (22ndDecember) volcanic tsunami devastation.

Sleeping bags delivered to Calais refugees

Sleeping bags donated at the 3Generate Youth Event held in Southport in November were delivered in early December to Calais, to provide essential bedding for refugees. 70 Bags were taken by the Learning & Development Officer for the East Central District – this was Nigel Pimlott’s fourth trip to Calais where he acts as a volunteer with Care4Calais:
“(Refugees) have nowhere to live, no protection from the elements, live in constant fear, and they have little hope of tomorrow being any different from today.”

Toys for Underprivileged Children – Thanks

Thanks to some generous donations, we were able to provide Christmas gifts for 3 children who were referred by various agencies looking for support.  

M and T aged 7 and A aged 4 each received gifts of a warm coat, pyjamas, socks and a toy.

Thank you to those who donated towards these.S