St Christopher’s Church, Southbourne will be transformed into a crisis and refugee centre on Sunday, giving visitors a small glimpse into what it might be like to go through the real crises that millions of people around the world find themselves in every day.
Organisers of the event at St Christopher’s Church are hoping that it will be a chance for people in Bournemouth to gain an insight into some of the difficulties faced by those caught up in a crisis. Visitors will learn about what is done to help by helpers and aid-workers, as well as the charities which seek to provide care, food, safety, and support.
Everyone is welcome to spend a short time trying to experience and more deeply comprehend the plight of others. The objective is to share the worldwide need of hospitality, love and concern for those in great need, particularly at Christmas, and to remember that Jesus said we are ‘to love our neighbour as ourselves’
St Christopher’s Church minister, Revd Nigel Legrand, said:
“The one thing we don’t want at Christmas is a crisis, but millions of people are in a real crisis at the moment. In Iraq, Syria, Haiti, South Sudan, Yemen and many other places throughout the world, people are facing hardships that we can barely comprehend.
“We’ve created this Experience to highlight and contrast the security and privilege that so many will be taking for granted this Christmas, with the homelessness, warfare, hunger and insecurity in the world. We want to encourage every visitor to offer their thoughts, prayers and any help they can to those in great need.”
Visitors to the Crisis Relief Experience will start by entering onto the Church site to ‘register’ and then spend a few minutes in tents in the grounds with ‘hosts’ explaining the hardships of leaving home behind and all that means with temporary accommodation, insecurity, loss of possessions and comfort. Visitors then move into a mock Health Screening Area and then into a cafeteria providing soup and hot drinks.
Informal family services will be held at 10am and 6pm on the 11th December, and will incorporate the ‘Experience’ – and all are welcome to come along. These will celebrate Jesus’ birth – and also offer a small insight into the needs of the real world where disasters have struck.