Southampton Peace Vigil for Ukraine

A Peace Vigil for Ukraine was held in Southampton’s Guildhall Square last Friday evening, 11th March, addressed by religious and civic community leaders including the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Alex Houghton;  The Right Reverend Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton; Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry – Leader of Southampton City Council; Nikki Walters – Southampton City of Sanctuary; Dr Parvin Damani MBE – Muslim Council of Southampton; Chris Webb – a pastor at Above Bar Church and William Brook-Hart – City of Sanctuary and SWVG.

Watch videos of their messages here

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Southampton Peace Vigil for Ukraine Videos

Many people in Southampton joined together at the Peace Vigil for Ukraine in Guildhall Square last Friday evening, 11th March, which was addressed by religious and civic community leaders.

The Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Alex Houghton welcomed people and said “it’s truly humbling to see how the people of Southampton, including those with Polish, Ukrainian and Russian connections, have come together to help the people of Ukraine.”

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Winchester Peace Vigil for Ukraine

More than 350 people from across Winchester came to Abbey Gardens in Winchester on Tuesday 1st March to show solidarity and support at a vigil for Ukraine.

William Brook-Hart from the Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group (SWVG) said what had been witnessed on the TV was horrendous: “I think we’re all horrified by the events unfolding in Ukraine. We’re all very shocked. It feels quite close to home. The cities being bombarded look very much like our cities… and we can empathise very much with what people are going through and feel great solidarity with them really.”

Canon Tess Kuin Lawton of Winchester Cathedral led with a prayer for peace, followed by a one minute silence in respect for the people of Ukraine.

We are #TogetherWithRefugees and with Winchester City of Sanctuary. We call for fair and humane treatment of people who need sanctuary, and safe routes for refugees.

Sources: Winchester Today and BBC News

Welcome to SWVG

As a trustee of SWVG, I am delighted to share this short video about our work. It provides an introduction to the work of Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group. We are volunteers who befriend and support asylum seekers and refugees in the Southampton area.

For more information visit our website

Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions by Anita Damiani-Shanley

Like other Western colonial-settler experiments, for over 70 years, Zionists have been systematically erasing the culture and history of indigenous Palestinians to justify their forced removal and the theft of their land. Ilan Pappe, in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, calls this ‘memorocide’ and in The Palestine Nakba, Nur Masalha elaborates, 

“The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948… The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine.”

This is why books such as Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions are so vital in recording the memories and eyewitness accounts of Arabs and Palestinians who experienced the arrival of Western colonialists to the Middle East, were co-opted into their wars, witnessed the rise of Zionism and then became refugees in the Palestinian Nakba.  Anita Damiani-Shanley’s book will most certainly help perpetuate their heritage and rightful historic claim to Palestine.

Ancestral Journeys is however much more than the story of two families, one Arab and the other Scottish joined in marriage. It traces the influence of missionaries, archaeologists, traders and colonialists competing with each other for a share of the Near East as the Ottoman Empire met its demise. Richly illuminated with family photos, the three main chapters trace the ancestral journeys of Damiani-Shanley’s extended family from Scotland and Lebanon to Iraq and then to Palestine. A fourth chapter traces the role of the Anglican Church in Palestine.  

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Cultivation and Climate: A Palestinian Perspective

For Fairtrade Fortnight, on Friday 26th February, Kairos Reading is holding a Zoom event with two Palestinian speakers: Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh from the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Muhanad Al-Qaisy from the Keep Hope Alive Olive Tree Campaign. They will be talking on the effects of climate and other factors, including, of course, the occupation on cultivation and fairtrade issues in Palestine.

To register your interest for the event and to receive the Zoom link to the meeting, please email: kairosreading1@gmail.com We are not charging for the event but we would encourage people to donate to either project or both.

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Joint Advocacy Initiaitve Sponsor a Tree

Stichting Nijlvallei – Nile Valley Project, Cairo

The Revd Dr Jos Strengholt is a member of the Peacemaker Trust International Board of Reference. Jos directs a number of charitable projects in Egypt through Stichting Nijlvallei (Nile Valley), a charity based in the Nederland. In this interview he shares about one project in particular, helping to feed Sudanese refugees in Cairo.

Find out more about Stichting Nijlvallei on their website and Facebook ebook page

If you wish to contribute financially to the programme you may do so in any currency through PayPal

Supporting Relief Work in Disaster-Stricken Beirut

We are glad to promote the relief work of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD), especially in the light of the tragic explosion in Beirut this week. Here is a brief update from the LSESD team on the ground.

Visit MEBO’s emergency response page to learn how you can partner with us and how to pray: www.mebo.org/helpbeirut

Founded in 1998 with roots going back to 1955, LSESD is a Lebanese faith-based organization with a focus on inclusive education, relief & development, and equipping the church. With its reach throughout the Middle East & North Africa, LSESD seeks to empower the local Church and serve the local community regardless of background by:

  • Restoring hope to the vulnerable and marginalized 
  • Building bridges with local communities 
  • Nurturing servant leaders and responsible citizens