Pilgrimage walk to raise funds for refugees

David Bradwell
Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees co-ordinator David Bradwell

People are being encouraged to take part in an interfaith pilgrimage in support of refugees and sanctuary.

Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees and Christian Aid Scotland are organising a trip to Ben Ledi, a mountain near Callander, on July 2 as part of Refugee Festival Scotland.

One of the projects being supported will raise money for refugees affected by conflict in South Sudan.

The Church of Scotland’s Needing a Neighbour project raises money to reach out to those in desperate need of basic life sustaining necessities such as clean water, food, shelter and medical care.

South Sudan is the world’s newest nation and was established in July, 2011.

It has been in the grip of a political and ethnic civil war since December, 2013 following a failed coup which has left thousands of people dead.

Atrocity

Many have been forced to flee their homes to Uganda where they are living in refugee camps.

The South Sudan Council of Churches said food is scarce, education opportunities scant, healthcare inadequate and “terrible crimes have been committed against women and children”.

“We call for the immediate cessation of hostilities and a halt to the atrocities which are being committed,” it said in a statement.

“We call for the needs of the people to be prioritised over personal and political interests."

Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees co-ordinator David Bradwell is taking part in the 10km walk – titled Shoulder to Shoulder - which is open to people of all faiths and none.

He hopes to raise at least £2,500 for the Needing a Neighbour project, spearheaded by the Church of Scotland’s World Mission Council.

Prayer for South Sudan
Christians are urged to pray for the people of South Sudan, that they be sheltered from renewed violence and ethnic conflict.

Mr Bradwell said: “This pilgrimage provides me an excuse to ask all my colleagues, friends and family to give money to support work with refugees.

“Practical help is still urgently needed to support people living through refugee emergencies around the world.

“I am asking people to give to the Church of Scotland’s Needing a Neighbour project – funds raised go directly to support the Church’s partners working in South Sudan.

“This situation is largely forgotten about by the media, and so the interest and engagement by the Church of Scotland’s World Mission Council with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan is really critical at this time.”

Sanctuary

Mr Bradwell said the theme of the pilgrimage to the Corbett mountain is sanctuary and refugees.

“As we walk we will be encouraged to think and talk about our hopes and what we are doing, as a church and as individuals, with people who have been forced to flee from their homes,” he added.

Mr Bradwell said the pilgrimage is part of Refugee Festival Scotland, which is taking place between June 20-July 2.

South Sudan
South Sudan

Jennie Chinembiri, Africa and Caribbean Secretary of the World Mission Council, said the Church of Scotland has been in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan for decades.

“We have heard first hand from our partners of the trauma and suffering that the men, women and children of South Sudan are facing through no fault of their own,” she said.

“The Presbyterian Church of South Sudan through their development agency is able to reach communities across South Sudan where others are unable to go.

“Many people are both internally and externally displaced living in refugee camps in very difficult conditions.

“Any support given to the South Sudanese will help provide basic needs such as food, water and shelter.”

refugee
People in a refugee camp meeting for church on Sunday.