The Feast 2017Social housing and Refugees to the fore
Over the past two weeks we have once again celebrated THE FEAST (winter lecture series). This year we were fortunate to welcome both Simon Cayley (CEO of Bishop's Action Foundation) and representatives from the Red Cross in Hamilton to the newly refurbished St Barnabas Community Centre at St David's Dinsdale.
Simon invited us to engage with the notion of social transformation; to build dreams from humble foundations. He reminded us that small sustainable changes inevitably contribute to social transformation. Simon further encouraged us to respond to the Gospel and be agents of change ourselves. We heard several inspiring examples of local initiatives before Simon revealed the Catalyst Housing Project. For the past couple of years BAF (as Catalyst Housing) has been working towards a major social housing development in one of New Plymouth's most deprived suburbs. Plans are underway to transform Marfell with affordable housing which they hope will regenerate the neighbourhood.
In the second week we were joined by Jason Sebestian from Hamilton Red Cross. Jason outlined the critical work that the Red Cross does in New Zealand with respect to disaster relief and receiving refugees. The number of refugees worldwide is overwhelming and we are privileged in Hamilton to be able to settle families escaping persecution. Jason was joined by Maryam (herself a recent refugee from Afghanistan) who helped us to understand the impact of resettlement on refugees. Her courage, gratitude and determination reminded us of the many luxuries that we take for granted in Aotearoa. At the conclusion of their address Archdeacon Paul Weeding presented them with several kg of rice (to help feed refugee families) and launched the new Hamilton Urban Deanery initiative Recycle-a-Bicycle.
On October 7 at St David's, Rifle Range Rd, Dinsdale, the Urban Deanery will be collecting and repairing bicycles to give to the Red Cross for distribution to refugee families. If you have any bikes or bike parts you are willing to donate please contact Stephen (firstname.lastname@example.org | 07 8570437) to arrange collection/drop-off.
Our thanks to Simon, Jason and Maryam for the gift of their time, enthusiasm and expertise. May God bless you richly.
To see the work of the Red Cross in action check out this video.
Story Published: 22nd of August - 2017
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