News Release

'No More Strangers'

Offering assistance to refugees in Calais and Dunkirk

‘No More Strangers’ was the theme chosen for the recent single adult conference held in Poole. Once the theme was decided upon, planning could start, and the first decision to be made was all about the service project for Saturday morning. Which of all the worthy causes they might choose most fitted the theme? The answer of course was obvious—all of those refugees stranded in Calais and Dunkirk, far away from their homes and strangers indeed.

After linking up with members in Canterbury, who had experience donating and taking items to Calais, and with help and direction from Elder and Sister Stay from the area welfare office in Frankfurt, the goal was to pack as many emergency food packs and welcome packs as could be delivered.

With less than two days to go, President and Sister Furbank from Poole set out to buy 500 tins of fish (with ring pulls!), 500 bottles of water, 1000 cereal bars, and 500 packets of peanuts for the food packs. Then they had to find 500 flannels, razors, bars of soap, tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes and finally 500 toilet rolls for the welcome packs. So close to the wire did they go that the ziplock bags to hold these items were delivered during the devotional on Saturday morning!

But what a success! A total of 968 packs were made and delivered to Canterbury for onward transmission. Four of the singles who attended the conference—Debbie Crossland and Felicity Furbank from Poole, Matt West from Bristol, and Rachel Norris from Reading —travelled to France with other members from across the country, along with organisers from Canterbury, to deliver the packs and offer service to the refugees.

This project started out with the goal to give those attending the conference a service project, just one part of the weekend’s activities. But a beautiful miracle occurred. As this work was under way, the focus shifted. As hands worked, hearts were touched. Those receiving the packs became the new focus. These poor, homeless people are our brothers and sisters. All of us are God’s children. All agreed it was a joy and a privilege to do this work—their gift to them and to our Saviour.

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