Reflection: Grenfell Tower, by member Ian M Fraser

The Grenfell Tower disaster raises pressing theological questions. A provisional assessment can be made at this stage, before the official enquiry establishes crucial features and the character of decisions made by those responsible.

At the day of writing, 23.6.17, the testing of the cladding has shown it to be deficient in its fireproof quality. That deficiency has moved the investigation to the realm of criminal proceedings. People were killed as a result of inadequate protection.

Now, when my wife Margaret and I served in Rosyth I was a Dunfermline Town Councillor, and, for five years, Streets and Lighting Convenor. I know how tight finances can be to meet a variety of relevant demands.

But in the Grenfell case, the Council had a resource of finance which was more than adequate, and the saving in getting cladding which was a few thousand pounds cheaper put at hazard the lives of inhabitants.

All human life is created in the image of God. To treat some people as being of less worth than others is a contradiction of God’s intention for life. Worship of the god Mammon can control minds so that the worst side of human nature is given scope.

As the protest banners said, there must be no cover-up. Jesus remarked how pretensions of trusted authorities could be on the surface, while covered up by fine words. In the case of the Grenfell Tower truth must hold power to account.

The Greek word for law, nomos, covers what can be legislated for – and what can be legislated for can often leave loopholes for dodgers’ machinations.

The Hebrew word torah, the ‘instruction’ for living, draws on the whole revelation of God’s mind and purpose for created life. All humans are made in God’s likeness.

Truth must be spoken to power, as in the prophetic tradition.

Theology digs deeper than legislation. The insights of protesters have been essentially theological, getting at reality.

– Ian M. Fraser

London Fire Relief Fund

Ian M Fraser has been a pastor-labourer in heavy industry, a parish minister, Warden of Scottish Churches House, an Executive Secretary of the World Council of Churches, and Dean and Head of the Department of Mission at Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. He is the author of many books, including Strange Fire, The Way Ahead, A Storehouse of Kingdom Things and Reinventing Theology as the People’s Work (Wild Goose).

Ian is one of the original members of the Iona Community who helped George MacLeod to rebuild ‘the common life’ and the Abbey buildings on Iona. Throughout his life Ian has travelled the world, alone and with his wife, Margaret, visiting basic Christian communities. He has walked alongside slum dwellers in India and Haiti; Nicaraguan and Cuban revolutionaries; priests, nuns and catechists facing arrest and/or death in Central and South America; and small farming and fishing communities in the Philippines.

Ian is in his 100th year.

Photo of Ian M Fraser ©

Iona, Camas and Glasgow

Kairos Week on Iona (May 2017), from member Jan Sutch Pickard

‘People come to Iona looking for peace and quiet …

Not much possibility of that in a full cross-centre week, focused on the injustices and conflicting messages of Israel/Palestine, the questions of our historic responsibilities, and how we are called to act with integrity now.

People came from Edinburgh, having engaged in vigorous debate on the subject at the Church of Scotland Assembly, from other situations, where they are frustrated at the timidity of denominational leaders, from the USA, sharing experience of prophetic action there, from recent visits to the land that we call Holy – and glimpses of an unholy mess. We heard powerful statements by Mark Braverman and Hind Khoury, in worship that began and ended the week (read their reflections below).

The programme was fuller than is normal, with afternoon workshops, breaking out of the tried-and-tested pattern of a week in the Centres, but most people, whether old hands or there for the first time, were not worn out by it, taking what they needed from the time together – and exhilarated by the ceilidh with a live band, a meaningful pilgrimage and (of course) the Staffa trip: ‘People come to Iona looking for puffins …’

But for many it was also the experience of being with people – concerned, committed, vulnerable human beings who yearn for peace with justice in the Middle East. And among the nearly 70 participants, so many were contributors, too: Charlotte Marshall, of Kairos Britain, led excellent workshops on ethical investment (the D of BDS). She was backed up by Katharine Preston from Kairos USA. Methodist Brian Brown spoke with authority of apartheid South Africa, from his membership of the Christian Institute, years of being banned and then the beginning of the Kairos movement there. Carol Morton led workshops on support for Palestinians through Fair Trade, drawing on the experience of Hadeel. David Cannon represented the Balfour Project – giving us valuable information to grapple with (not celebrate) this centenary year. Warren Bardsley was there in support, having just written a book about Balfour – Consequences. Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, was a guest, and in one of three afternoon talks in the parish church, shared with Bart McGettrick, a member of his Board, he enabled us to hear the voices and hopes of students there. The message from Bethlehem was that education is the key to a peaceful and just future.

It was great to have a student from the St Andrews STEPS programme there, and about 13 Ecumenical Accompaniers, including Tony Davies, who was a founder member of that WCC programme which has now enabled hundreds of people, from 20 different nations, to monitor the situation in the West Bank Palestinian Territories and to bear witness. After a week in Iona focusing on the Kairos call, that is what we need to do …

… and go away looking for peace with justice.’                                          

– Jan Sutch Pickard

Photo of Jan Sutch Pickard ©

Restoring the Kingdom: Kairos Week sermon from Iona Abbey, by Mark Braverman

‘… I first visited Israel as a boy of 17, and I fell in love with the young state. I was proud of what my people had done, creating this vibrant country out of the ashes of Auschwitz. My Israeli family – religious Jews – embraced me. But even as I embraced them in return, I realised that they talked about ‘the Arabs’ in the same way that whites talked about black people in the pre-civil rights Philadelphia, where I had grown up. I knew then, at some level, that something was wrong. I still didn’t know the facts, but a seed had been planted …’

– Extract from ‘Restoring the Kingdom’, by Mark Braverman

To read Mark Braverman’s sermon:

Restoring the Kingdom (79)

Mark Braverman is a co-founder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting Palestinian land rights and peaceful coexistence in historic Palestine. He serves on the advisory committee of Friends of Sabeel North America and as a consultant to Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. In 2009 he participated in the launch of the Kairos Palestine document in Bethlehem. He is Program Director for Kairos USA, a movement to unify and mobilise American Christians to take a prophetic stance for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

Photo from the Iona Community website ©

The Year of Salvation: Kairos Week Agapé address, by Hind Khoury

‘… We are living in important critical times. This is a Kairos moment, the year of Jubilee, the year of salvation and the year of the Lord. This is 100 years since the Balfour Declaration which promised our land to part of the people of the land and delegitimised the remaining Christians and Muslims. It is 70 years since the UN partition of Palestine and 50 years of the occupation that started in 1967.

Just as the Jews of the first century endured suffering and humiliation without surrendering their longing for justice and their passion for freedom and dignity, so do we, the people of the land. And we will not give up because we know, intrinsically and consciously, that:

Jesus brought good news to the poor, emphasising a God of love. If God is love, then humankind will be liberated from bondage, which is based on fear and punishment rather than love and compassion.

Jesus called for the deliverance of the captives and liberty for all those who are heartbroken. He appealed for freedom.

Jesus called for the year of salvation, a Jubilee year …’

– Extract from ‘The Year of Salvation’, by Hind Khoury

To read Hind Khoury’s address:

The Year of Salvation (56)

Hind Khoury is the General Secretary of Kairos Palestine.

Photo of Hind Khoury ©

‘Autumn encounters with the Iona Community: a short seasonal programme’, St Columba Hotel, Iona, 2017, from Iona Community Programmes Development Worker, Pat Bennett

Against a background of changing colours, falling temperatures and shortening days, autumn provides a chance to pause and take stock of life – to gather in what is ripe, to clear the ground and prepare for what lies ahead. These three programmes offer the opportunity to do this in different ways as the bright limpid colours and bustle of summer give way to the vermillion and purple sunrises and softer pace of Iona in autumn.

The Iona Community is an international, ecumenical Christian movement working for peace and justice, the rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship. Our programmes offer spaces in which people can explore life’s meaning and purpose in the company of others, and can encounter, experience and celebrate the riches and challenges of communal life. We have a long association with the island of Iona and are delighted to have the opportunity to offer some programmes in partnership with the St Columba Hotel whilst our own centres undergo refurbishment and maintenance work.

‘Autumn encounters with the Iona Community’, St Columba Hotel, Iona, 2017:

21-28th October 2017:

‘Walking into Winter’,
led by Jan Sutch Pickard, Joy Mead and Ruth Burgess

28-4th November 2017:

‘Stillness, Silence and Song’,
led by Alison Adam and Cara Riley

4-11th November 2017:

‘Cycles of Grace: Exploring the Ten Beatitudes’,
led by Alastair McIntosh

To reserve your place, please either visit www.stcolumba-hotel.co.uk and book online or phone 44 (0)1681 700 304.

For further programme information contact:

Pat Bennett: [email protected] (Iona Community Programmes Development Worker)

Autumn Encounters with the Iona Community (129)

‘Autumn on Iona’ © David Coleman

The Camas Diary

Outdoor education students from the University of Cumbria, Garden Week – and much more – catch up with what’s been happening at Camas lately by reading the Camas blog:

The Camas Diary

The challenge of time (a reflection from Camas)
 
Time is a challenge for me.
It’s taken me Camas to see
how so often I rush,
with no time for hush.
How can that possibly be?

Time is a challenge for me.
Oh how I long to be free
of the ever-repeating days
and such linear ways.
Oh how can that possibly be?

Time is a challenge for me.
New sequences are the key
for our true human self
to come out from the shelf.
Oh how can this possibly be?

Time is a challenge for me.
To follow a new trajectory
instead of moving so fast
and skimming the past.
Oh how can this possibly be?

Time is a challenge for me.
I can finally be free
to spread from the pack
and get back on track
with what nature intends us to be.

– by Lucy Allan, a Camas guest, from the Camas Diary

‘Camas folk’ © David Coleman

Iona Youth news: Iona Youth Festival, 29th July–4 August, 2017

Iona youth folk are busying planning for – among many other things – the upcoming, annual Iona Youth Festival. Wishing you all a great time when it comes! (Ed.)

Iona Community youth work

Photo from the Iona Community website ©

E-liturgies and prayers, from Wild Goose Publications

Wild Goose now has a huge, rich collection of digital downloads – for different days, seasons, occasions – explore them here:

E-liturgies and prayers from Wild Goose Publications

 

 

weeWONDERBOX: events and gatherings at the Iona Community’s Glasgow base, from the Wild Goose Resource Group and the Iona Community’s Programme team

weeWONDERBOX is a series of face-to-face events, that mainly, though not exclusively, take place in central Glasgow.

The vision that inspires us is the renewal of incarnational, face-to-face public occasions where committed, faithful folk can engage with the pressing issues and challenges of God’s world in all its glorious variety and contradiction.

For more info and upcoming events:

weeWONDERBOX

Sanctuary and light: the Iona Community’s Capital Appeal

Generations of people have been touched by the varied and vital work of the Iona Community – work we want to ensure continues to be a reality and not history. This is especially true of our presence in the Abbey on Iona.

As a proactive and forward-thinking organisation, we have been evaluating and reassessing what we offer to our guests and staff. Wide consultation and guest feedback have identified key issues about the building’s accessibility, flexibility and sustainability. These must be addressed in the next five years if the Abbey is to remain fit for purpose.

In partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, we will ensure that active use of this iconic building, for its original purpose, is safeguarded for the future …

Sanctuary and light

Sitting around a refectory table on Iona in any one week may be a professor of theology, a Roman Catholic monk, an unemployed young person, a Quaker peace activist, an army chaplain, a single parent with children, a businessman, a battered wife, a teenager from an inner-city gang and a Presbyterian minister. Many guests have had that experience common to all too many people in today’s world – that of being buffeted, rejected and hurt so that they become closed and defensive. The Abbey community aims to be a group where people can feel safe – a sanctuary where they can open out, share their fears, reflect on their lives, share worship and work, and join in discussions on the theme for the week, in which contemporary issues are looked at in the light of the Gospel.

Ron Ferguson, from Chasing the Wild Goose: the story of the Iona Community, Wild Goose Publications

Prayer of the Iona Community

O God, who gave to your servant Columba
the gifts of courage, faith and cheerfulness,
and sent people forth from Iona
to carry the word of your gospel to
every creature,
grant, we pray, a like spirit to your
church, even at this present time.
Further in all
things the purpose of our community,
that hidden
things may be revealed to us,
and new ways found
to touch the hearts of all.
May we preserve with
each other sincere charity and peace,
and if it be
your holy will,
grant that a place of your abiding be
continued still
to be a sanctuary and a light.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Capital Appeal

 Photo © Martin Johnstone, used with permission

Members, associates and friends

‘One of the most generous-spirited people I have ever met’: a tribute to member Catherine Harkin

Iona Community member Catherine Harkin passed away on Monday 12th June, 2017. Catherine was a GP, singer, opera buff, scuba diver, writer, and supporter of Medical Justice.

In tribute, a friend writes:

I first met Catherine in 1999 in an Al-Anon meeting. I have a very clear memory of her – walking in with a fantastic red dress, looking glam and important with her trademark short hair. She seemed a big part of the meeting and well-respected. Little did I know how much of an impact she would have on my life. Catherine was the woman I listened to in the meetings, not just because of her articulate and respectable recovery but because I identified with her word for word. I warmed to her really strongly and truly felt I could relate to her in ways that I couldn’t with the others. There were points where the identification blew me away, literally sent shivers down my spine, and I didn’t always like it. From the difficult relations with her mother to how she felt about herself on a day-to-day basis. It never struck me for a long time (until I was in recovery myself) that the reason for the identification was my own battle with alcohol.

I went regularly to Al-Anon meetings on a Wednesday, where Catherine attended, and on occasion (when I wasn’t going to the pub after to get drunk) she gave me lifts home. I often invited her to go to the pub after, but funnily enough she always, always declined.

I called Catherine regularly – and boy, we could both talk. I often mentioned my drunken shenanigans but I would downplay them. I think I wanted her to tell me that I didn’t have a problem. She definitely didn’t tell me I didn’t have a problem, in fact on several occasions she gently suggested AA and NA, and sometimes less gently but never unkindly. If I’m honest it used to make me cross (a typical reaction of an alcoholic in denial). There was one particular time in her car when she was talking about someone she knew who had a problem with alcohol but was in denial. I thought she was directing it at me! How dare she suggest such a thing?!

I had my last drink in 2006 and the first phone call I made was to Catherine who, in her no nonsense kind of way, said she wasn’t entirely surprised, and had wondered when I would get there, and suggested Cockburn street (frontline meeting for alcoholics). So that was the beginning of that journey, which I still continue, and Catherine was a huge part of that discovery for me. And I got the feeling she was very glad I got there eventually.

I remember when Catherine was diagnosed with breast cancer. I would listen to her in meetings and always think – how on earth can she deal with it with such strength? How can she deal with it at all? I remember listening to her when she was being bullied at work, and wondering how she’d get through that. But she did – she was a fighter, with a huge heart and a strong sense of justice. For me this was one of the things that really struck me about Catherine: her strong ethics and her continuous reaching out to people who needed it.

I remember when Catherine first met Carrie (she told me about her new love after a Wednesday night meeting). I was struck by how happy she was – scared and excited too! I was privileged to be invited to Catherine and Carrie’s wedding, which was in my first few months of sobriety, and I can honestly say it was one of the most lovely occasions I’ve been to. Really just incredibly loving, and I remember it felt very much like a fairy tale. It also taught me that I could have a great time without alcohol, and I was very grateful to have this experience in such early sobriety, as I thought I was destined for doom and gloom – not so.

I loved Catherine’s fondness for her frogs, her pond, her cats and her bees. (I only met her bees once, and was totally captivated by the b(EE)b(EE)C TV.) Unfortunately it was winter when I met them and they were a little inactive at the time.

In 2015 I was diagnosed with stage 3b ovarian cancer. Terribly frightening and traumatic. It was around this time that Catherine was diagnosed with a second type of cancer of the bowel. She was a real support to me. More than I can say. With all that she was going through herself she was still there for me, with her prayers, texts and calls. She took me to my chemotherapy sessions on several occasions and gave me lifts when I had admissions in hospital after not doing too well with the chemo. Catherine picked me up from my last chemo session with a balloon saying Congratulations. Thoughtful to the nth degree.

When Catherine was in St Columbus I got texts from her often, wishing me well, when she herself was in great pain and very unwell: still thinking of others continuously, even through her own dreadful circumstances.

I shall miss Catherine greatly. She was one of the most generous-spirited people I have ever met. They had to put extra chairs out at the service and I wasn’t even the least bit surprised by that. It is comforting for us all to know how loved and respected she was.

Goodbye for now, Catherine x

Photo of Catherine Harkin ©

Iona Community USA Northeast Region gathering for St Columba’s Day, from associate Katharine Preston

Eighteen associates and friends of the Iona Community USA Northeast Region gathered at the Marie Joseph Spiritual Centre in Biddeford Pool, Maine. We hold this plenary gathering annually, as near to St Columba’s Day as possible, for renewal of our vows and for fellowship.   

We shared worship and discussions, about prayer and about our individual and community witnessing to the challenging political climate in the US. We heard updates about new leadership in Glasgow and on the Capital Appeal. Sharing scotch, cheese and other nibbles encouraged some discussions quite late into the night.

In the group picture below, imagine the setting – beyond lovely: an extensive sandy beach, fragrant beach roses blooming, and glimpses of deer, including a young fawn hiding in nearby bushes.  

Times are hard in the USA these days for people of conscience. This annual gathering nourishes us, reminding us that we are not alone in our struggles for justice and a more peaceful world. 

– Katharine Preston

Northeast region gathering photo ©

The Iona Community at the Kirchentag, from member Rolf Bielefeld

This year’s Kirchentag in Berlin (May 2017) attracted about 120,000 people from all over the country and beyond, including members of the Iona Community from England, Scotland, the Netherlands, the USA and, obviously, Germany.

In cooperation with Refugio, part of Berlin Mission, the German Family groups and friends ran the spiritual centre Lifelines in an area of Berlin which is shaped by immigrants and poor people. We offered worship, workshops on pilgrimage and Celtic-based spirituality, a big sing and a city district pilgrimage.

A café and a great offer of hospitality by our friends from Refugio was provided for all guests and helping hands.

Unfortunately we were the ‘last centre on the line’ with no neighbouring centres or mass quartiers nearby. As a result we did not see 2500 visitors as planned but ‘only’ 600.

Still, those who came left inspired and moved by our sessions on ‘What is the Iona Community?’ and ‘Tell me about your life and faith journey’ and by our worship services (healing, commitment and communion).

–Rolf Bielefeld

Kirchentag photo © Dirk Grützmacher

Peter Macdonald’s leaving do

A nice photo here of former Leader Peter Macdonald’s recent leaving do at the Iona Community’s Glasgow office. Peter was gifted by staff with a lovely painting of Glasgow!

Go well, Peter.

(The new Leader of the Iona Community is Michael Marten.)

Photo by Chris Long ©

Sanctuary walk for refugees, from associate John Philip Newell, from Heartbeat, June 2017

From John Philip Newell and Heartbeat:

Last weekend we walked with fifty students, faculty and friends of the University of Edinburgh in pilgrimage to an ancient Celtic site of hospitality to support the growing vision of sanctuary for refugees in our university, city and nation. Importantly we were joined by six young Syrian men who have found new beginnings among us.

One of them, Ibrahim, shared his story with me as we walked together over the great Forth Road Bridge that connects the Lowlands and Highlands of Scotland. He had managed to escape from Syria after being tortured by the Assad regime in Damascus. His path to safety took him over vast stretches of Europe as far as Calais on the west coast of France. But there, because of restrictive British Government immigration policies, he was allowed to travel no further in his hope to join his brother in Scotland. Ibrahim decided to buy diving equipment and bravely entered the cold waters of the English Channel, swimming beneath the surface to a ship bound for England. Successfully clambering on board he was able, in international waters, to claim refugee status. A number of hours later he arrived safely in Dover to be processed officially as an internationally displaced person. As soon as he could, Ibrahim headed for Scotland to join his brother. The night he arrived in Edinburgh was the beginning of Advent. The streets and tree-lined paths of the park beneath the Castle had just been lit for the Christmas season. When he saw such a city of welcoming light he said to himself, ‘This is my place of new beginnings.’ …

More

John Philip Newell is the author of many books and the co-founder of Heartbeat. Heartbeat’s vision is ‘healing in the world by honouring the earth and strengthening relationship across faiths, nations, races, genders, generations, and economic divides’. Its mission is ‘expanding sacred vision, deepening spiritual practice, nurturing reflective community, and enabling action for change’.

Photo from the Heartbeat website ©

Trident Ploughshares Coulport disarmament camp, Coulport, Peaton Glen Wood, Argyll, Scotland, 8-16 July 2017, from member Jean Oliver

Everyone who opposes Trident and its grim replacement is invited to join us for ten days of camping and taking non-violent direct action.

All welcome for as little or as long as you can stay. Bring friends, make friends and enjoy camping in an ancient oak woodland adjacent to MOD Coulport, where the nuclear weapons are stored in sinister bunkers deep inside the hillside by one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland. Let’s evict the undesirable tenants and return that hillside to nature.

A caravan has been booked for those who feel unable to camp, and if anyone living in the vicinity could offer a bed, please get in touch!

Full camp briefing

Trident Ploughshares

Photo by David Coleman ©

Open letter from the National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine, from Leader of the Iona Community, Michael Marten

From Leader of the Iona Community, Michael Marten:

Given the Community’s long-standing interest in a just peace in the Middle East, many will be interested to read the new open letter to the World Council of Churches from the Christian communities of Palestine:

Open letter from the National Coalition of Christian organisations in Palestine

Christian organisations in Palestine release open letter

‘Resurrection of hope: digging deep for a just peace in Palestine & Israel’, 3rd/4th November, 2017, Ministeracres Retreat Centre, Northumberland, from Hexham Kairos and member Ruth Burgess

To mark the year of the three anniversaries – 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 50 years of the occupation of Palestinian Territories, 10 years of the blockade of Gaza – Hexham Kairos, in partnership with Peace and Justice in the Holy Land NE and Minsteracres Retreat Centre, have organised this event, on Nov 3rd/4th, which coincides with the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the arrival of the Walk for Justice in Jerusalem.

We have secured an outstanding range of contributors: Mary Grey, a Roman Catholic eco-feminist theologian and trustee of the Balfour Project, is our keynote speaker, and there will be contributions from Mary Lucas (CAFOD), Charlotte Marshall (Kairos Britain), Brian Brown (Methodist Minister with a background in apartheid South Africa) and Veronica Whitty (with an MA in Peace Studies).

If you would like a residential place at the beautiful Minsteracres, book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Hoping you will join us and our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel in a journey sustained by an indomitable hope.

Programme (59)

Booking form (43)

 

‘Beyond the Food Bank?’, from member Liz Dowler and Lacuna Magazine

Member Liz Dowler, from the Food Ethics Council, passes on this recent resource (Ed.):

From Lacuna Magazine:

Lacuna Magazine is turning its attention to charitable food assistance and hunger in the UK, in a special edition entitled: ‘Beyond the Food Bank?’

Part 1 focuses primarily on developments within the Trussell Trust network. In Foodbank futures, James Harrison explores how the strategies and ambitions of Trussell Trust foodbanks have changed in recent years, and notes a striking diversity of approaches even within the Trussell Trust network.

In our second feature, Kayleigh Garthwaite asks: When did emergency food provision stop being so … emergency? Garthwaite highlights the complex issues that can force people to rely on food aid and discusses initiatives that have been developed by the Trussell Trust and other community organisations in an attempt to address these longer-term issues, before arguing that ultimately there needs to be a more serious mobilisation against the structural causes of food poverty.

Alec Spencer, Development Officer at West Cheshire Foodbank, reflects on Four years of food parcels and expresses unease about the widening gaps in the welfare safety net. He also talks about some of the innovative work that is being done in the region to try to move ‘beyond food parcels’.

Finally, in Hand to mouth, Ben Richardson, Associate Professor in International Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, takes a broader look at the relationship between insecure work and people’s diets. He examines the ways in which irregular working hours and the loss of workers’ rights have affected people’s access to healthy food and looks at possible responses to the issue.

Photo: Lacuna Magazine website ©

New editions of two classic books, Coming Home and Contemplation, by member Stephen Wright, from the Sacred Space Foundation

News and campaigns

Grenfell Tower Relief Fund, from the British Red Cross

From the British Red Cross:

Many people have been affected by the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in north Kensington and some have lost everything. We need your help to give them immediate support.

By donating to our London Fire Relief Fund, you can help those who have been left bereaved, injured or homeless by this tragedy.

Help people in need after the fire at Grenfell Tower:

London Fire Relief Fund

Photo: Red Cross website ©

Dubs Amendment court case against, from Help Refugees

From Help Refugees:

On the 20th June, Help Refugees took the British government to court over their failure to properly assess local councils’ capacity to take in unaccompanied minors under the Dubs Amendment.

In over one year, the UK has only managed to transfer 200 children under the scheme. Such gross incompetence and foot-dragging from the Home Office has put children’s lives at risk.

That’s why we’re asking the courts to intervene, and make sure the Home Office conduct a legitimate, lawful consultation with local councils. We know that if done properly, the UK has the space to offer a safe home and future to hundreds more child refugees.

Whatever happens, there are still 95,000 unaccompanied refugee children in Europe. We do our best to reach and help as many as possible:

Help Refugees

Voices from the margins: help make voices heard, from Church Action on Poverty (CAP)

From CAP:

Through the UK election campaign, CAP helped people get together and make alternative voices heard. The voices that weren’t being heard in our public debates: voices from the margins.

Watch the stories here

  

Speak Up Week of Action, 1-9 July, 2017, from Christian Aid

From Christian Aid:

Following the UK general election, and despite a lot of uncertainty, this is still a great time to remind your newly elected MPs about your love for our common home and the need to protect the people and places we love from climate change.

From 1-9 July, thousands of us will come together at events across the country to speak up about just that. From picnics, to nature walks to MP constituency visits, there are plenty of events you can get involved with so do join us.

Speak Up Week of Action
 

Photo from the Christian Aid website ©

Interfaith Scotland

Interfaith Scotland is the national interfaith organisation for Scotland. It works to help ensure good relations between the diverse religion and belief communities of Scotland and also to share good practice in interfaith dialogue, education, engagement and training nationally and internationally.

(The Iona Community is a member of Interfaith Scotland.)

Interfaith Scotland

Interfaith Scotland resources

Photo from the Interfaith Scotland website ©

Stop Arming Saudi Arabia, from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT)

From CAAT:

UK weapons are being used in Saudi Arabia’s devastating attacks on Yemen – attacks which have killed thousands and created a humanitarian disaster.

CAAT is taking legal action to stop the sales, but every day that the government refuses to act is another day of death and destruction. As we put the arms trade in the spotlight, please contact your MP to make sure Parliament knows that as long as the UK keeps arming Saudi Arabia, we have blood on our hands.

Stop Arming Saudi Arabia

Take action for a fairer world today, from Amnesty International

Take action

 

Photo from the CAAT website ©

Prayer

God of summer, by member Ruth Burgess

God of ripe plums
and meadowsweet,
thank you for summer.

Thank you for warmth
and beauty and wonder –
thank you for life.

– Ruth Burgess, from Bare Feet and Buttercups: Resources for Ordinary Time, Ruth Burgess, Wild Goose Publications

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