Here, Clarice Corfield tells us about the visit of a Lampedusa cross to her community and the impact it had on her and others in Keynsham
We have recently welcomed the Lampedusa cross from the Clifton Cathedral in our parish church (St Dunstans) in Keynsham. The cross was resident on our altar from 13 October to 16 November.
On 18 October we held a service for the refugees and migrants based on some wonderful CAFOD resources. We gathered in the dimly lit church with the cross on the altar surrounded by candles. The service was solemn and moving as we heard some of the heart-breaking real life experiences of refugees caught up in the crisis. The presence of the humble wooden Lampedusa cross focused our minds in prayer and reflection.
We were all moved by the accounts of the victims and felt a Christian duty to show solidarity with these people in such great need. We knew that we must help dispel prejudice in our own community and to welcome, help and pray for all who are looking for a chance to rebuild their shattered lives.
Everybody from our local community was invited to visit the church to see the cross and say a prayer for the refugees.
Building on the theme of solidarity. we also held a ‘Churches Together’ service on 30 October, alongside members of other denominations. The Lampedusa cross was again present and we all prayed for the welfare of our brothers and sisters in arriving and living in Southern Europe. Indeed, on 6 November, the Lampedusa cross also visited an Anglican church nearby.
In both services people were encouraged to write messages of hope to the refugees. These will be taken to some of the refugees that are arriving in Europe so that they can know that they are in our prayers.