This year the parishioners of St Margaret's, Twickenham, are involved in some way with helping Mozambican refugees return to their villages. Chris Smith, a local doctor, explains how he and 750 others are "working in partnership"
FOR MANY YEARS we've had some kind of Lenten activity, mainly concerned with raising money various projects.
About five years ago we changed our approach so it wasn't just fundraising but had a strong information element. We decided to look at an issue like Brazilian Street Children or Latin America after 500 years, and then support an appropriate project.
Then last year it changed again. All the parish groups got involved so it wasn't just the Justice and Peace group doing all the talking and setting up social events and cooking the food.
This year more and more people than ever are doing some thing. We suddenly discovered that people are happy to do things they only need to be asked. We have discovered an enormom amount of goodwill and willingness to help."
The children's group are getting the fundraising envelopes together and distributing them. The youth leaders will be using
CAFOD's Refugee Campaign material.
The 21-30s group have agreed to take over the whole social side. They will be rais ing money by having a fiesta with food from various parts of the world. A group of women in the parish who hold 'bring and buy' sales after mass will be giving all the proceeds during Lent to the project.
We're going to be holding a pilgrimage in a local park using material from the CAFOD Campaign which will involve the parish readers. The liturgy group will be using some of the Campaign material. The business ethics group are thinking about how they could get involved.
And we'll see what contacts we can use in the local community. Last year a hairdresser came from a local salon and did hair cuts for DO each. All the money went to the project.
JABBOK, the theatre company, is coming to perform a play about refugees and racism which, hopefully, will lead to a discussion about the difference between genuine refugees and economic migrants. That's going to be an important debate to have.
And we'll have at least one speaker from CAFOD. There won't be a dull moment."
Why the Mozambique Triple R programme? Well, because it fits perfectly with the refugee issue we are looking at. The Working in Partnership scheme we took it from is a terrific way of getting involved in a project. It gives a very concrete aspect to what we are doing.
It's quite clear what the money we raise Is going towards.
The Working La Partnership materials mean we don't have to agonise over what to do. They are there, ready and waiting to be used wholesale.
In supporting Mozambican refugees we are entering a kind of partnership.
We are not trying to put the parish name on the side of a donkey!
Or do something that wouldn't be of any particular value to the poor. The Working in Partnership scheme is a very good way of trying to forge that kind of real partnership."