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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 22nd January 2017 Posted on Sunday 22 January 2017

Week of Christian Unity
This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and we have a joint service of Choral Evensong at 3.00pm in Liverpool Cathedral as an ecumenical act of worship in the midst of this week. The theme for the Week of Prayer this year is entitled ‘Crossing Barriers’ – included below is a section of the introduction to this theme as a focus for our thoughts and prayers over these next few days.

‘There are many reasons to celebrate this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As the resources take our focusth to Germany we remember especially the 500 anniversary of the German Reformation and the call to reconciliation.

This is a time of great change and uncertainty around the world as we confront difficulties such as climate change, migration of peoples across continents and conflict spreading in many places. In the European context we see many of these issues finding expression on our streets and these are indeed a cause for prayers for unity.

We need to pray for a greater vision of a united church. With so many global and local issues confronting all of us every day, the church witness needs to be strong and clear in its call for unity. We need to be resolute in standing together to witness to a Christ centred Church, in standing with those on the margins who have no voice and no power. Prayers for unity need to become daily prayers, so that we deepen Christ’s life in each one of us.’

I have included a heart warming story from Hope+ this week as well:
‘We are often asked, and indeed ask ourselves; how does what we do help. How can some bags of food, some second hand clothing, basic toiletries really make a difference?

This week we had the latest in a long line of answers from a former guest. More than two years ago a young woman came to our St Bride’s pantry. The young woman was memorable for her dishevelled state; she was filthy, her clothing was torn in places, even her Hijab was dirty. She was very scared, terrified really. She spoke no English, her ID said she was Syrian, so we tried to introduce her to one of our (male) Arabic interpreters, but she was too scared to talk to them. Our female volunteers leapt into action, taking her into our clothing store to find clean and appropriate clothing, making sure she had the right food, toiletries, extra milk as she was visibly pregnant. They smiled at her, we told her in our basic Arabic that she was welcome and safe.

Last Monday our Project Manager was watching a toddler running around Tesco in the uninhibited joyous way that only toddlers can. She smiled at his mum, who came across and asked if she could speak with her. “You won’t remember me” she said in very fluent English “But you saved my life, and you saved his too” she nodded towards the exuberant toddler. “when I came to you I was dirty, I was hungry, I was terrified, I spoke no English, I was alone, my husband had been killed in Aleppo trying to rescue people from a bombed house, and I wanted to kill myself. I had no reason to live. You smiled at me, everyone smiled, you all had beautiful smiles, you made me understand that I was safe and you would care for me, you even gave me a clean Hijab. Please, I have waited so long for this, please may I give you a hug? Please can you tell your friends thank you from me and my son”. For helping Hope+ give hope to those who need it; Thank You.’