FROM THE RECTOR
A BIG “THANK YOU”
I would to thank all those who helped with Christian Aid Week which was very different this year. I thought you might enjoy reading an article I found in the Christian Aid Magazine.
Our capacity to love comes from first being loved. People in small village communities high in the Bolivian mountains have suffered a long history of abuse and neglect. Centuries ago they were forced to work in silver mines by the Spanish; this last century, dumping of excess agricultural goods by the EU and the US destroyed their markets. Poor and with little access to education, they lost self-respect and hope. In a world of computers, fast cars and planes, they were cooking outside on open fires, collecting water from a river, sleeping on the floor with few blankets against the fierce cold of nights.
Assisted by a small amount of funding from Christian Aid, Yolanda, a doctor, and Crisologo, her husband, an agriculturist, began working with these villagers. Bolivians themselves, they could not believe the poverty in which they were living. They talked to people to find out what they wanted. Each village had a different priority – a health centre, a phone link, access to water. Yet at each place the same thing began to happen – the children began to have their hair brushed, people began to smile. Eventually, they had gained sufficient strength that when their river was polluted by effluent from a mine they themselves took the mining company to court and got compensation – sufficient to pay for water pumps outside their houses. Lots of girl babies were given the name Yolanda.
“Love one another as I have loved you” is such a simple command, yet so difficult. We have to let go of our differences, our prejudices, our instinct to hold things tight to ourselves. Following this command is possible when we take the second part of the command – “as I have loved you” – seriously. When we know we are loved, we can let go of defending ourselves and are able to love others.
In Christian Aid Week, as individuals and as churches of different denominations, we act out love for people who see little evidence of others’ having any love or care for them. These may be people who sew clothes for our markets for wages that don’t feed their family, who are defending their rainforest while we are buying goods that encourage its destruction, or who are living with the threat of rising waters as our governments take little action on climate change. Dwelling in Jesus’ love gives us the delight and courage to offer love to people like these.
Small communities in one part of Bolivia received love and that love spread until people smiled, and obtained justice for themselves. The water that flowed from the newly installed pumps by their homes is deeply symbolic. Each act of love brings God’s kingdom on earth, a kingdom which includes everyone, and brings lasting meaning.
Thank you for all your efforts. David
Click Here for to Contact Rector: Rev. David Howell
Please note that FRIDAY is my day off!