There has been so much going on in our political scene during the last two weeks that other news has slipped through without us barely noticing.
As I was thinking about this week’s blog, I heard the news that yet another man had died and that thirty people had been rescued whilst trying to cross the Channel to reach Britain. 271 people made the crossing last Thursday and already this year 458 people have made the journey and we are only in the third week of 2022. It is hard to imagine the hardships and despair which drives people to leave their homes, their war-torn countries and loved ones behind, to make such a dangerous journey, yet people are fleeing in their thousands to seek a better life in countries which they regard as ‘safe havens’ and risking their lives in order to do so. Our hearts and prayers go out to them.
In 2017, we had a holiday touring Scandinavia and while we were in Denmark we stayed in the waterfront district, Nyhavn, in Copenhagen. There happened to be an art installation by Ai Weiwei, the Chinese visual artist, entitled ‘Soleil Levant’, in the windows of the Kunsthal Charlottenborg Art Museum for the United Nations World Refugee Day, to draw attention to the refugee crisis. He had placed 3,500 life jackets, salvaged from refugees who arrived at the Greek Island of Lesbos, who were desperate to reach Europe. There were fourteen windows in all, stuffed with lifejackets of all sizes. You couldn’t help but notice the vibrant splashes of orange and blue – it really made a visual impact. Each of those jackets represented a life which is precious to God and a life that is valued. In 2022 we still have the same crisis.
Fiona Kendall works with Mediterranean Hope, a project created in Italy to support refugees who seek to reach Europe by undertaking dangerous crossings in the Mediterranean Sea. Fiona and Jill Baker will be our speakers this year at our Connexional Conference at Swanwick and Fiona will be sharing some of her experiences of her ongoing work. Look out for the booking forms as they will be on the website soon. It will be a hybrid conference but you will still need to register if you intend to attend online. In the meantime, please keep Fiona and all those who make those dangerous journeys, hoping to have a better life, in your prayers.
Photo: ‘Soleil Levant’ an installation by AiWeiwei, Copenhagen – Ruth Parrott