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Visiting refugees in Greece

'In meeting the men, women and children who have fled war and conflict I very quickly began to realise that they are people like me, and us.

'They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and relatives to loved ones who have or have not journeyed with them.'

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Rev Kathryn Viner (pictured above left) is minister of Malone Presbyterian Church in Belfast. She recently visited refugee camps and refugee projects in Greece. 

Kathryn travelled on behalf of the Irish Council of Churches as part of a CTBI delegation of women from churches across Britain and Ireland and was able to meet some of those who are being helped through the support of Christian Aid.

In the video below, Kathryn describes her first impressions of the camps and life for refugees who have made their way there.

'I was greatly encouraged by the effort and commitment of the Christians from different denominations in Thessaloniki.

'They are giving of their time, some have even given up their jobs or their retirement, to work together tirelessly to meet every person who arrives in Greece from a place of war or conflict, and to begin to show them compassion.

In the following video Kathryn talks about some of the families that she met, the homes that they left and the journeys that they had to take.

Kathryn says, 'This has been one of the most beautiful images of the church that I have seen in a long time and I pray it makes the difference needed in the lives of so many people who have more value than any news headline or special government policy regarding what we have come to call "the refugee crisis".'

In this final video, Kathryn describes the work that is being done by the ACT Alliance in refugee camps in Greece and how the support of people in Ireland is assisting the aid effort among the families living there. 

For more information please our Refugee Crisis webpages.

 

Pray

Please continue to keep the needs of refugees in your prayers.

Merciful God,

We pray for all whose desperation leads them to the sea, to undertake perilous voyages, often following dangerous journeys over land: those escaping brutal wars, those fleeing religious persecution, those looking for hope in a hopeless situation.

May we look beyond our own fears and concerns to the needs of those who have nothing, risk everything and depend on the kindness of strangers.

May our hearts be opened, our leaders be challenged and our self-interest be called out, in Jesus' name. 

Amen.

 

Read an article on Rev Kathryn Viner's trip to the Naomi Project in Thessaloniki on focusonrefugees.org.

Thank you to Alan Meban from focusonrefugees.org for sharing quotes from the trip, and photographer Esme Allen.

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