Reverend Darcy Chesterfield-Terry, deacon at St Mary’s Church, Fratton, shares thoughts on refugees and remembrance
Sunday was All Saints, where the church remembers the faithful men and women who have gone before us. Monday in church we commemorated All Souls Day where we remembered all our loved ones who have died.
Today is remembered as the day when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators tried to blow up Parliament, not a religious festival but a significant event in our island’s history and this coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday where we remember those who have fallen in war.
It can be easy to look at the two world wars and the suffering that both sides and non-combatants endured as memories, something confined to the history books and people’s recollections, but there is still suffering going on today.
You only have to pick up a newspaper or switch on the news to witness the plight of refugees escaping the fighting in Syria. It can be easy to see these people as someone else’s problem, to see them as a nuisance to be ignored. But these are individuals, just like you and me. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, they are grandparents.
In September some members of the Taize community went to Hungary to help the refugees and there they found people who wanted to be safe, free from fighting, violence and suffering and able to live. One of our young people from St Mary’s, Adam, was one of those who went and he has written powerfully of his experience and the suffering he witnessed.
When you hear the news about refugees and those fleeing their homelands remember no one wants to put their family in danger, to leave all they have behind them unless to stay is worse.
We are but one race, the human race. We may be separated by language, or colour, or religion but we all want the same thing, to be safe and to live in peace.
At this time of remembrance please spare a thought for those people who are having to live in temporary camps or on the road, who face a winter of uncertainty as countries close their borders and please pray for peace and an end to all wars.
n St Mary’s Church is at Fratton Road, Portsmouth, PO1 5PA. Remembrance Sunday services start at 10am followed by an act of remembrance; at 3pm there will be a Royal British Legion service of remembrance.
For more information call (023) 9281 4444, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit portseaparish.co.uk or search for St Mary Portsea on Facebook.