Rector’s Pages: The persecuted church and how to support it.
This month, an interview with Mike Simpson, the chief executive officer of FRRME (Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East) focusing on FRRME’s involvement in Jordan.
Last year you were appointed CEO of FRRME. What does the role cover?
Over the last six months I have met many Iraqi refugees, IDPs (Internally Displaced People) and others we support. Thousands have lost their homes and their communities, along with almost all they possessed, after they fled from ISIS. Most are in need of significant restoration in their lives. My role includes advocating for these often forgotten people with government, churches and individual Christians. This might be meeting in Parliament with political leaders or with the British ambassador in Baghdad or giving talks in churches around the UK. I support and direct the staff team at home and abroad, under the governance of our trustees. I also work to develop inter-religious dialogue, for example meeting the leading Shia Muslim cleric Hussein Al-Sadr when I was in Baghdad in February.
What is FRRME’s involvement in Jordan?
We support over 5,000 Christian Iraqi refugees in Jordan. We work in partnership with four local churches of very different denominations: Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Evangelical and Pentecostal.
Are FRRME working on the ground with the Christian Iraqi refugee community there?
Our support for the Christian Iraqi refugees includes food relief, English language teaching, provision of clothing and medicines and working with partner agencies to address the trauma suffered by many of these people who fled from ISIS.
What is life like for that community there?
It's very tough for them. Most left Iraq with virtually nothing and many have been badly traumatised by ISIS. As Iraqi refugees they are not allowed to work in Jordan and are very dependent on the support given by local churches and charities like ours.
What are the most pressing needs in that country?
There are practical, emotional and spiritual needs. We met with the UK Ambassador to Jordan recently to ask him to try to influence the Jordanian government to issue work permits to Iraqis and to enable Christian children to access suitable schooling. The trauma suffered by many who have been driven out of their own country is acute. Then there are the spiritual needs which the various churches are seeking to meet through manifesting the compassion of Christ and enabling people to grow in their faith.
Can you please say something about your most recent visit to Jordan?
Last month I met with church leaders in Jordan but also with individual families and I heard the moving stories of the tragedy of Iraq. Often it seems that the inner needs are much greater than the outer needs. Many are bereaved. They may not even know where relatives and friends are, because so many people disappeared under ISIS. There is a lot of trauma. Some are understandably bitter. There is huge uncertainty about the future. It brings to mind the wonderful words in Psalm 23, 'He restoreth my soul.' With the help of
our supporters and most importantly with God's grace we aim to help restore the souls of many people.
FRRME website http://frrme.org has videos and information about their work. The donate page has many different options for those wanting to support. FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom.
Sunday 6th May 2018 - Rogation Bluebell Walk
Cudworth to Chillington through the Bluebell Wood
09.40am - Tractor Transport from Chillington to Cudworth
(if you would like to leave your cars at Chillington)
10.00am - Light Breakfast at Cudworth Church
(£2 for sausage or bacon roll and hot drink)
10.30am - Brief Rogation Service
10.40am - Walk begins
Coffee & Cake on arrival at Chillington
(Tractor Transport from Chillington to Cudworth
if you have left you cars at the latter)
FIRST SUNDAY SERVICES:
Sunday 3rd June
Barrington - 6.00pm Evensong
Cudworth - 11.15am Modern Communion
Dowlish Wake - 08.45am 1662 Communion
Kingstone - 10.00am Family Service
Shepton Beauchamp - 10.30am Modern Communion
Buttle Close Common Room - Shepton Beauchamp
We meet at 11.30am on the first Thursday of each month in the Common Room of Buttle Close for a short, gentle service of prayers, hymns, readings and a story. Everyone is very welcome.
Shepton on Tuesdays at 10.30am.
The venue changes as we meet in peoples homes and have a cuppa afterwards; ring Rev’d Geoff (240228) if you’d like to come along.
This service is 2 minutes long, simple Communion Service to reflect,
pray and give thanks.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY:
Saturday 5th May - KINGSTONE
The famous “Kingstone May Fair”
(see note later in this Web)
Saturday 12th May - DOWLISH WAKE
The Plant Sale!
2.30pm at the Pavilion on the playing fields.
Monday 4th June - Stocklinch Village Hall
Deanery Open Meeting - 7.00 for 7.30pm start
This meeting centres on a talk by Tracey Warren (a very engaging speaker) from Stoodley’s Funeral Directors, who will talk on “Dying Matters - dying, death and bereavement”.
Saturday and Sunday 23rd/24th June
Stocklinch Village Summer Show
Watch out for further details!!!!
ATTENTION BELL-RINGERS AND
OTHERS WHO WORK WITH CHILDREN
FOR THE LOCAL CHURCHES
If you work for your local church as a bell-ringer or in any other capacity, you may need DBS clearance for your own well-being as well as for those vulnerable people you may work with.
A local course on Safeguarding has been arranged at South Petherton Church on
Wednesday 13th June from 6.30pm - 9.00pm. (a C1 course)
Wednesday 4th July from 6.30pm - 9.00pm. (a C2 course)
If you would like to attend please contact Rev’d D’ Fyfe (01460 241977 email@example.com ) to book on the course. If you are unsure whether or not you need one, contact your Vicar or Tower Captain.
Visiting Skills Course
Do you visit people regularly? The sick, lonely, bereaved? As a member of your church or just because its the “right thing to do”? Would you like to find out more about current thinking, recommended practices and good ideas into how to do this even better? This course may help.....
Venue - South Petherton Church Date - beginning Wed 23rd May
Time - 7.00 for 7.30pm start; finish by 9.00pm
Session 1 - Introduction to Pastoral care; Who am I?
Session 2 - The Importance of Listening
Session 3 - Visiting the Sick
Session 4 - Bereavement
Session 5 - The Family
Session 6 - The Practicalities of Carrying Out a Visit; Safeguarding – local arrangements,etc.
Contact Rev’d Jonathan Morris: 01460 72356 firstname.lastname@example.org
A VERY BIG THANK YOU to everyone who worked for and supported:
The Stocklinch Easter Fete on 31st March, raising £460 for church funds.
The Coffee Morning at Derek’s on 14th April raised £304 towards repairs to the vestry roof, replacement flagpole and clock! Thank you to Derek for hosting the event.
For Dowlish Wake PLEASE
The Late Marion Pollard - Memorial Service
Roger and his sons have arranged for a Memorial Service to be held at Dowlish Wake church on Saturday 2nd June at 2.00pm. Everyone is welcome to attend to celebrate the life of this lovely woman who is sadly missed. There will be light refreshments in the Speke Hall after the service.
For Shepton PLEASE
A big thank you from St Michael’s Church, Shepton Beauchamp
Now that winter is behind us, we have a brighter church following a major refurbishment of the lighting, paid for by local fundraising events and a legacy. Also, for the first time, at the flick of a switch, the grade 1 listed ceiling over the choir stalls and altar can be seen in all its glory.
A day of spring-cleaning followed and a little team armed with vacuum cleaners, brushes, dusters and Marigolds made sure that the pews, floors and other surfaces were soon gleaming. Thank you so much to the village volunteers who gave up a chunk of their Saturday to help.
In the mean time, the new computerised bell system which cost £12,000 has been fully paid for, thanks to anonymous donations. It comes with a playlist (including ‘Happy Birthday’ and various carillons) plus an independent keyboard enabling any other tune to be played. If you were mystified to hear Christmas carols and ‘Oh Danny Boy’ coming from the church tower early this year, that was just a ‘name that tune’ test run!
Spring time was busy as usual for Father Geoff and for Joan, who went into school and recreated scenes from the Easter story during Holy Week. From palm crosses (remembering the way Jesus entered Jerusalem) to flatbreads and Ribena (the last supper), a variety of symbolic props brought the stories to life. Father Geoff’s Oscar-worthy performance in church as Jesus in ‘Temper in the temple’ mode was undoubtedly top of the bill!
Holy Week Church activities culminated on Easter Sunday with the morning service and communion led by Canon Ian Gibson. ‘Henny’, of course, made her annual appearance and performed her chocolate egg-laying miracle.