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A Reflection, following the Prayer Walk from Ely to Cambridge,

in solidarity with Migrants and Refugees

We walked
We talked and exchanged stories of our life journeys
With friends of old and those just met.
We rested and waited for slower members to catch up.
We took refreshment at a convenient pub, and
Along the route we picked ripe blackberries,
And continued with new energy and determination.
We reached our destination and felt good,
Though feet were sore and limbs ached.
We had accomplished our plan for the day
We prayed together and for those who walk
As refugees and migrants.
We enjoyed tea and cakes and then
Went home to a hot, restorative bath, a meal
And a comfortable bed in a secure home.
Tomorrow we can rest and recover.

They walked
They talked and exchanged stories of their life journeys
With those they met along the way, once trust had built.
They rested to wait for the little children to catch up.
Many carried burdens of their meagre possessions and
Small children, too young to walk so far.
Some of the women carried babies yet to be born.
There was no convenient place for refreshment
There were no berries to forage from the parched bushes.
They walked as far as they could that day
And then looked for a safe place to spend the night
Huddled together for warmth and protection,
With just a little bread, bought at extortionate price,
That did little for the ache in hungry bellies.
They prayed in silence.
How could God have let them come to this?
When might there be an end? When a chance to wash?
When might there be a comfortable bed and a secure home?
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow they walk again.

Chris Wright

Reflective Service at St Bene’t’s Church, Bene’t Street, Cambridge 8.00 p.m. Sun Oct 7th

This reflective time will focus on the theme of exile and homecoming.
Everyone is invited to find time for stillness, prayer, music and reflection. Refreshments are served after the service, which should take about 40 minutes.

Share the Journey: take action on the refugee crisis

Whatever the weather, we will walk for about 40 minutes, pausing 5 times to hear a story about a refugee or migrant, reflect and pray. We will carry a Lampedusa Cross (made from the driftwood of refugee boats).

Sunday July 22nd at Milton country park.  Details from Mary Watkins tel: 07985 275346


Here is a piece of good news! One of our number contacted us in December to tell us that Manchester City Council had just passed a motion calling on the Government to end indefinite detention. We contacted two City Councillors, Oscar Gillespie and Donald Adey, who brought the motion to our own Cambridge City Council on 19th April.


The motion, under the title “These Walls Must Fall” is as follows:

This Council believes that the UK’s immigration detention system is not fit for purpose and the Government must end indefinite detention.
Therefore, this Council:
• Endorses the These Walls Must Fall Campaign and the declaration.

• Calls on the Government to implement the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into detention.

• Asks our local MPs to support the spirit of the motion, to raise the matter in the House of Commons, and to support changes in current laws and procedures to introduce alternatives to detention.

• Seeks further support for the motion via the Local Government Association, and by encouraging other Councils in the UK to show their support on this issue.

This is an excellent example of how a grassroots movement like ours can effect policy. To learn more about “These Walls Must Fall” campaign see Please keep your ideas coming, and don’t forget to tell us about any events or activities.

Tales from our Ancestors

Every family is rich with stories that make up the very fabric of who we are. Stories of loss, triumph and mystery: stories to take us back to our own history, culture and love. Eight storytellers share intimate family tales, from the Yorkshire mines to the Holocaust to post-war Britain. This storytelling performance, hosted by the Bard of Cambridge, Glenys Newton, offers you ancestral tales, guaranteed to remind you of the stories that connect us all.
This evening of storytelling was first performed at St. Ethelburga’s Centre in London, and praise for the event included:
‘What a wonderful evening! Thank you so much storytellers for sharing your courage, honesty and many gifts; listeners, for lending your warmth and love…’

Unitarian Church Hall, Victoria Street/Emmanuel Road CB1 1JW. 7.30 pm £8/£6.

Check our website for latest details:  

Contact [email protected]

Peace Sunday Display at Our Lady and English Martyrs

In John Petts’ window in Birmingham, Alabama, his black Jesus shows the two hands of nonviolence: one stopping oppression, the other reaching out in forgiveness and reconciliation.


Pope Francis praises the “creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees even where resources are scarce.”

OLEM has pledged support to Cambridge City of Sanctuary as it works to build a culture of hospitality and welcome. See for news and events.


We have a “duty to recognise and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their exploitation”

Could you join the sponsored sleepout at St Giles church on 28th Jan 2018, in aid of the homeless in Cambridge and Calais, organised by CamCRAG and Wintercomfort?


We should support “the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people”

Cambridgeshire Schools of Sanctuary can advise on awareness-raising activities and projects which may lead to assessment and certification as a School of Sanctuary.


We must allow “refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community.”

Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign works with individuals and organisations within Cambridge to welcome refugees and those seeking asylum.


Pax Christi

“armed conflicts and other forms of organized violence continue to trigger the movement of peoples within national borders and beyond.”
• Peace – based on justice.
• Reconciliation – a process which begins when people try to mend relationships
• Nonviolence – a way of living and making choices that respects others and offers alternatives to violence and war.

This display was prepared by members of Cambridge Justice and Peace Group.

We meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm in the Parish Meeting Room to reflect on the issues of the day and plan future activities. All are welcome to join us

Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one…
Bring healing to our lives
that we may protect the world and
not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
(adapted from Laudato Si, Pope Francis, 2015)

Pax Christi, St Joseph’s, Watford Way, London NW4 4TY,  0208 203 4884

In his World Peace Day message Pope Francis invites us: “In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger”.

He urges us to act, and encourage our leaders to act:

“Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.”

Faith and Peace – perspectives from three religions

01 Feb 2018 – 28 Feb 2018, Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral.

Religions can be the cause of violent conflict. Can they also be the solution

A touring exhibition, sponsored by the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, which explores perspectives on peace from three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam is being welcomed by Ely Cathedral throughout February 2018. This exhibition looks at the way in which the three faiths promote peace – in their teaching, and in the lives of their people. It tells stories of their peace-makers. It shows how  each stresses hospitality and welcome for the stranger, including the stranger of other faiths.

Making Refuge: Creative Responses to the Refugee Crisis

19th February – 26th March,   Michaelhouse Centre, Trinity Street, Cambridge

A lunchtime series on creative responses to the refugee crisis, featuring activists, artists, filmmakers and politicians. 1pm on Mondays
(with soup and refreshments starting at 12.30), at the Michaelhouse Centre, Trinity Street, Cambridge. Poster available here: Making Refuge Poster

19 Feb. Vaughan Pilikian Documentary filmmaker whose forthcoming work, Flight, is about the journeys of refugees through Europe.

26 Feb. Stephen Wordsworth Executive Director, the Council for At Risk Academics (CARA), helping academics in danger since 1933.

5 March Ed Sexton Member, Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group (CamCRAG), responding to the refugee situation in Europe.

12 March Daniel Eng Divinity Faculty PhD candidate and winner of the Goodwin Prize for his work on how the teaching of Jesus applies to Immigrant Care and Refugee Relief.

19 March (*12.30pm) Cllr. Lewis Herbert Leader, Cambridge City Council, speaking on Cambridge initiatives to help 100 refugees from Syria and refugees from other countries.

26 March Issam Kourbaj Artist in Residence, Christ’s College whose work ‘Another Day Lost’ was inspired by and based on the Syrian refugee crisis.