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A Church of the Caterham Team Ministry: Caterham Deanery - Diocese of Southwark - Church of England

Dear friends,

Since October 7th 2023, thousands of people have been killed and over 1.9 million displaced after the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza.  As of the end of March, at least 32,490 Palestinians have been killed.  In Israel, 1,200 people have been killed and civilians, including women and children, have been forcibly taken.  Some have been released in a deal brokered by Qatar.  In addition to these deaths and kidnappings, many thousands have been injured.  Sadly, by the time you read this, those figures will probably have increased.  How are we to respond to this tragedy?

In addition to trying to be properly informed about the complex reality of the situation and holding both victims and political leaders in our prayers, we can support those charities which are seeking to bring aid to those affected.  St Mary’s has a long history of supporting the work of Christian Aid, which has been working with the poorest and most vulnerable people in the Middle East since the early 1950s.  Today, Christian Aid’s partners in Gaza are responding with medical relief and community-led initiatives such as food, shelter, sanitation, and cash.  This includes building mobile bathrooms in four shelters and working with local farmers to get fresh vegetables for families that have left their homes to escape airstrikes.  Christian Aid is also working with Zochrot, an Israeli civil society organisation based in Tel Aviv, to provide trauma based psychological assistance to Israelis who have been affected by the escalation of violent conflict.

This year, Christian Aid week runs from 12th-18th May.  Although we no longer do house-to-house collections in the parish, we do encourage parishioners to donate directly to the charity.  During that week, a group of people from St Mary’s and some of the other local churches will be walking the Way of St Hild on the North Yorkshire coast.  This pilgrimage will take them from St Hilda’s Church on The Headland, the location of one of the most ancient centres of Christianity in Britain, to Whitby Abbey.  In so doing, the pilgrims are hoping to inspire us to donate to the work of Christian Aid.  Please hold the pilgrims in your prayers and, if you can, make a financial gift to Christian Aid’s Middle East Crisis Appeal.  You can find out more by going to the Christian Aid website: Middle East Crisis Appeal | Christian Aid.

With my prayers and best wishes,

Rev. Canon Trevor Mapstone
Rector
, St Mary’s Caterham


Sermon for the Third Sunday of Easter

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