|THE PEACE GARDEN. On the east outer wall of the church is a simple plaque commemorating the dead of the 1914-18 and 1939-45 wars. The Justice and Peace group is trying to find names of the local people who died. On Remembrance Sunday this year (November 13th) there will be a short service at which the Peace Garden in front of the plaque will be dedicated.|
BLESSED FRANZ JAEGERSTAETTER
English-speaking (British, Irish, American) members of Pax Christi were also present, including three members of this parish.
At the Sunday Mass at St Radegund, his village, Frau Jaegerstaetter arrived in the side-car of a motor-bike.
Gordon Zahn, the American sociologist who promoted awareness of Jaegerstaetter in his book "In Solitary Witness", died on the 9th December 2007. For some time Zahn had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and so it is unlikely that he was aware of the beatification. May he rest in peace.
COMBONI SISTERS' HOSPITAL IN KARAK, JORDAN
We support the Italian Hospital in Karak with an on-going collection that usually comes to at least £30 a week: often more. We have now a second volunteer working in the hospital and another going out this year; there may be another two next year. The volunteers will speak to the parish when they return. The first volunteer, Louise Gillam, spoke at every Mass at the weekend 17th/18th July. Vincent Malone, about to begin his second year of training for the priesthood in the diocesan seminary, spoke at Mass on the 22nd August. Meg Camm, a midwife and lecturer, was at the hospital for a month over the new year and spoke at every Mass on the last weekend of February 2006.
Harmony with Creation
Peace and War
Every Christian church should be committed to work for peace. However, the history of St Mellitus's parish gives it a special responsibility. On 12 April 1899, when it was then the New Court Chapel, a most remarkable meeting was held in response to Czar Nicholas II's appeal for an international reduction of armaments and a major peace conference. That conference did take place in The Hague in May 1899.
On that April night in Tollington Park the church was full of people including local dignatories, mainly religious, who had come to sign a petition urging the British government to respond in a positive way to the Czar's appeal. Full details of the meeting were published on 15 April in what was then the Hornsey and Finsbury Park Journal and North Islington Standard. Those who would like a photocopy of the relevant page are asked to send an A4 stamped addressed envelope to the Movement for the Abolition of War, 11 Venetia Road, London N4 1EJ (www.abolishwar.org.uk).
With that history behind us, it is no surprise that today St Mellitus has an active justice and peace group, with connections to Pax Christi (www.paxchristi.net) the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (www.cnduk.org) and other peace groups. Only a few hundred yards away from the parish church are the offices of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (www.caat.org.uk).a
Most of the asylum seekers attending Mass at this church are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other African Francophone countries are represented; in addition there are Kosovan and Albanian Catholics. An increasing number are homeless and destitute because their appeals have failed. From time to time competent immigration lawyers, a dwindling number, manage to have their cases re-opened and many of these cases are eventually successful.
Delays in the system can be long. Sometimes the Immigration and Nationality Directorate lose files altogether. In the meantime the restrictions are severe. Asylum seekers are denied any travel documents to allow them to leave the country. Since February 2005 they, like everybody from outside the European Economic Area, have had to apply to the Home Office for permission to marry. The official reason is that this makes sham marriages less likely. The result is that the Home Office grants or witholds permission for even British citizens to marry. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is taking three cases to the High Court to test the legality of this regulation. The three Catholic Episcopal Conferences that cover the United Kingdom (England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland) have not yet uttered on this point despite the obvious problems of human and religious rights involved. (11th February 2006)
& Pax Christi
CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) is well supported with publicity and the twice-yearly Family Fast Day. Also the parish belongs to Pax Christi, the international peace organisation which informs and empowers Christian communities world-wide.
|The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture have their new and remarkable building on the edge of the parish. A number of asylum seekers in the parish come under the care of the local health authority, many suffering from depression, but the Medical Foundation gives specialist support for those who have experienced trauma in their countries of origin.|
A few hundred metres from the church is Prisoners Abroad which works for British prisoners overseas and their families, and for those who are forcibly re-patriated even when their connections with this country no longer exist.
| SEEKING ASYLUM
a perilous journey – to safety?
At Digby Stuart College,
Roehampton University, Roehampton Lane, SW15
Saturday October 6th 2007 10.30 am – 4 pm
(Registration at 10.15 am)
Last year’s “Behind the Headlines” event brought together some of those involved in a largely invisible grassroots network of individuals and groups in churches, other faiths and community organizations defending and supporting asylum seekers.
This year’s gathering will be opened by Nicholas Sagovsky, Dean of Westminster Abbey, and explore this work - the pitfalls and the victories - how we can work together more effectively as asylum seekers and non-asylum seekers against the growing horrors of the UK government’s asylum policies.
Bring lunch. Tea and coffee provided. Wheelchair accessible. Parking.
All are welcome
To find out more and book your place, please contact:
Joan Faber Crossroads Women’s Centre
020 8472 2859 020 7482 2496
From Hammersmith 72 bus from first floor of shopping centre above tube station;
From Putney Bridge 265 bus to Queen Mary’s Hospital, opposite Roehampton University.
Rail: Barnes station, then 72 bus or short walk. Car A306 Roehampton Lane.