ON a recent visit to our local church in Great Marton I was impressed they and others were making preparations for ‘welcome boxes’ to refugees in Blackpool (once they arrive). It showed a kindly and Christian awareness of their fellow man.
Whether other religions would be as welcoming to us in desperate times, I don’t know. But people in different parts of the world have helped me in the past, leaving me greatly touched and relieved. In fact, events usually worked out and they didn’t need to do so much.
“We’re not asking you to take people in,” explained a church worker, “just welcome them and help where you can.”
I suppose we all harboured visions of those hordes of young men, seen on TV battling with border security guards.
“They’re just cowards, avoiding conscription and the war,” commented someone later in the pub. “Some families might be true refugees, others are just economic migrants.”
You could hardly blame the latter, I thought, recalling words of the offertory in our earlier service: “We bring bread and wine from an unjust world, where some have plenty but most go hungry, where some have leisure but most struggle to survive.”
But then charity begins at home; that’s only human nature too.
Still, years ago there was that poor Caribbean family who offered to accommodate me free, when I was temporarily destitute owing to a passport mix-up and depleted funds.
What’s more, I once put up an elderly Glaswegian who had missed his last train home. He was wandering late-night Blackpool with a suitcase and mounting panic.
He shared his whisky with me then left early next morning, without farewell but with a large sweater of mine against the cold. However, he later posted it back to me with his heartfelt thanks.
That memory, and the jumper, still keep me warm today.
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