From the Vicar
During 2017 I read a short book which made a deep impression on me. It was ‘The Optician of Lampedusa’ by Emma Jane Kirby.
Lampedusa is a small island off the coast of Italy and it has made disturbing headlines for some time now as the first piece of European land that desperate migrants hit as they flee from North Africa.
The central character in the book is the island’s optician and his life is changed for ever when one day when out on a fishing trip with friends, he witnesses all the horror of a sinking refugee boat. He and his friends manage to rescue some of the stricken people (47) but hundreds drown.
The majority of the book is about his relationship with the survivors and the impact the experience has on him and on his wife.
It seems that the world’s attention has, for the moment, been diverted from what is without question one of its most pressing and unfolding tragedies. Millions of people in our world are homeless, driven from their own towns and villages by war and by direct oppression.
Hundreds of thousands of these, from Syria, and from African nations, have fled in the hope of finding somewhere to call their home. A considerable proportion of these are now living rough on the outskirts of northern European cities and towns.
They are in a desperate situation, yet most of the official bodies ignore them or pretend that the crisis doesn’t exist. Elsewhere in this edition you can read about the work of Wadebridge and Cornwall Refugee Aid.
Eileen Partington, the author of the article and a member of St Tudy church congregation, has already been to Calais in 2018 and plans to go again later in the year to provide supplies of all kinds and to offer the benefits of her medical experience (she is a retired GP).
I am very much hoping that the 5 parishes of our Cluster will unite to support this largely unknown but essential work. You can read more details in her piece (please see 'Magazine' page).
The faith that we share and profess acknowledges that Jesus spent a part of his earthly life as a refugee. His teaching urges us to meet our neighbours in their need.
Please help in supporting Eileen’s work and if you can make a monetary donation, you can send this to me at the Rectory, Glebe Parc, St Tudy, PL30 3AS.
“Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”