Around 80 people gathered in St Peter’s Church, Antrim Road, Belfast, on March 28 to celebrate the Parish’s ongoing relationship with the charity Child Aid (Russian Republics).
St Peter and St James Parish has had a partnership with Child Aid for almost four years, and in that time has raised several thousands of pounds to specifically support work in the Chita area in Siberia. Recently, as the situation is Russia has improved somewhat, the Parish’s Charities Action Group has been exploring how best to facilitate the ongoing relationship with Child Aid.
It was in that context that an invitation was extended to Martin Wilcox and Richard Norton, respectively Child Aid’s Charity Manager and Fundraiser, to come to St Peter’s. The pair had dinner in St Peter’s Rectory with the members of the Parish Charities Action Group on Saturday 27 and during dinner, possible future directions for the Parish Link were discussed, with a particular emphasis on the Ukraine.
The next day, Richard Norton, who is a lay reader in the Church of England, preached at Morning Prayer in St Peter’s. The service was followed by an Eastern European lunch where soup and blini were served, before Martin Wilcox presented a broad spectrum of Child Aid’s work to the Parish.
Many conversations took place after the lunch about developing a support programme for Child Aid’s ‘House of Light’ in Ukraine, where institutionalised children are afforded time and space to integrate into wider world. One possibility discussed was a team from the parish heading to Ukraine in the future…a notion met favourably by many.
The Rector of the Parish of St Peter and St James, the Rev Adrian Dorrian, said: “Relationships are so important in mission and ministry. Our link with Child Aid is not only good in and of itself because of the real work we support, which makes a difference to the lives of these children, but it allows us to hold a mirror up to ourselves.”
Adrian went on: “It was a deliberate choice to invite Martin and Richard at the start of Holy Week, because the work of their organisation challenges us to look at what really matters in life, and to understand the redemptive work of Jesus in the broadest sense of the gospel. He began his ministry challenging his world to “release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s Favour” and that challenge is as real for us today as ever.”
If you would like to know more about Child Aid, visit their website at www.childaidrr.org.uk.