There have been a few posts from L’Arche India these last few months; if you’ve read those you’ll know something of their life and work. This is a Lenten Fund-raising Appeal. You’ll see above how one of the communities was devastated by a typhoon, and this in a poor country. Please consider directing your alms this Lent to L’Arche India. Click the link to find out more.
L’Arche India fundraiser
Don’t forget: if you are in East Kent on Tuesday, please come to our hour of prayer for Christian Unity at St Thomas’s Church. If you cannot join us there, please find a moment to be with us (and with Christians throughout the world) in spirit.
If you are in East Kent on 23 January please join us to pray for Christian Unity. And if you cannot make it, spare a moment to be with us in spirit.
I guess your Christmas tree is now indoors and decorated? Perhaps the last place you’d expect to find a metal one would be Tanzania. This story comes from the Missionaries of Africa and is by Marien van den Eijnden, M.Afr.
When I visited for the first time the M.Afr. house in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, [now called Atiman House] in the 1960’s, I saw in the courtyard a sort of metal Christmas-tree and wondered what one would be using it for. The top was 1.5 m high or more, and it had some 50 upending branches. The amused confreres explained that one used it to drip-dry wine-bottles after having been cleansed and rinsed. But in those days they rarely used it anymore.
The house was the procure, or distribution centre for the missions, and imported the Mass-wine and table-wine for upcountry. In addition to individual bottles one used damjan [= dame-jeanne], bottles of + 20 litres in a wickerwork basket. Later on drums of 100 litres were used, which were bottled in the respective diocesan headquarters.
Marien van den Eijnden, M.Afr.
Father Marien’s story left me wondering at the effort that went into making sure there was enough wine for Mass so far from any vineyards, but grapes have been grown in Tanzania since soon after he arrived there. So maybe the Christmas tree is not needed at Atiman House.
We use a modern version of this once or twice a month at L’Arche Kent. Some readers may remember that it has among its activities a small brewery project. It is hoped to make this into a commercial micro brewery in God’s good time.
Unlike most UK brewers, we recycle bottles. They go through various washing and sterilising processes and are hung out to dry on this handsome red plastic Christmas tree. These are all jobs that core members of the community can do without constant, overpowering supervision, and which they take pride in.
One of our brewers, Paul, recently took some bottles to Japan on a visit to the community there.
Happy Christmas to all,
Maurice, Will and all the team.
Here is the latest newsletter from L’Arche Kent, hot off the press!
2017 WINTER Newsletter
Is there a L’Arche community near you? London, Long Island, Kilkenny, Kolkata, Marseille, Manchester … and many, many more would make you welcome. Find them on line; this international site is a good place to start: http://www.larche
Follow the link to read more about life in the Asha Vani Community in Calicut, India. As their newsletters come to your editors, we will slide them into the first available space.
Dear Friends of Agnellus and Friends of L’Arche,
L’Arche Kent recently shared this newsletter from L’Arche in Bangalore, India.
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I would also like to share this short video from another L’Arche community in India.
Enjoy them both and tell us how you feel about them!
Some news from Christians Together Canterbury – a network of churches and Christian groups across Canterbury, including L’Arche Kent.
Amos Trust Carol Service
The Amos Trust is holding a Carol Service in Canterbury on Thursday 7th December at St Peter’s Methodist Church from 7.00 p.m.
Amos Trust is a small, creative human rights organisation, committed to challenging injustice, building hope and creating positive change. Its three areas of work are among street children in South Africa, Burundi, India and Tanzania; building sustainable rural communities in Nicaragua and India; and working for a just peace for Palestine. Every year Amos Trust holds an excellent Carol Service in London at St James’s Piccadilly. It is seeking to make this Carol Service more widely available, and is experimenting by ‘exporting’ it to Canterbury this year.
There will be a collection during the service to support the vital work in which the Amos Trust is involved.
I just opened this post from Fr James Kurzynski at the Catholic Astronomer blog. It makes for good reading alongside Fr Austin’s post this morning. The way Fr James sees Jean Vanier within his own scientifically informed view of the world will appeal to many of our readers.
God changes everything
One of the aims of L’Arche is to enable all community members to take part fully without being over-helped at every step of the way; to be able to make decisions – and sometimes to have to stick with those decisions. So if someone opts to spend time in the garden, they don’t just turn up once and expect to be able to do something different the next week. That sort of commitment is part of being human too.
I’m reminded of a story told by someone from L’Arche who briefly worked for another organisation which need not be named. In L’Arche there are discussions about where people go on holiday and with whom, and in the event, everyone seems to enjoy themselves. In this other agency, careworkers chose a destination according to their own preference and the clients’ holiday budget. If a resident hated flying or Spanish food, hard luck, but the carers enjoyed themselves.
James’ words on August 28 bear repeating:
Providing ‘care’ to someone with particular needs enables the individual to live life with more freedom and independence which in turn offers more opportunity for them to care about—and be cared for —by another human being.
Does that sound easy? I remember from many years ago a young man who would refuse to leave the care home where he lived. If staff carried him to the minibus he would cheer up within a few minutes and enjoy the outing or holiday. And he would have been helping plan it all in the preceding weeks. If he stayed at the house, there would have been nothing to do, no-one to play football with. Which course of action promoted his freedom and independence? Which would be said to protect his human rights?
It isn’t always a small and cosy world.
Pray for Wisdom!
Mosaic at Broadstairs Baptist Church