TO COMPLEMENT LAST WEEKEND’S exhibition of art by children from refugee camps, at St Mary’s Church, Totnes, we present (scroll down) a special report with photos of a visit last month to the Greek island of Lesbos, by the Totnes Refugee Medical Response Team – Dr Abby Fearon tells of the situation there, some stories about the refugees and their sometimes surprising range of needs, and also offers some useful links for anyone interested in helping.
See also below for a very diverse selection of events over the next three weeks to choose from, to learn, listen, celebrate, engage.
Scroll even further down for our latest bumper round-up of Community News and information from Liz Waterson and others.
• please check our Events and Services pages now and then, in case of any last-minute changes or additions
SPECIAL SERVICE – in Bridgetown
Sunday 28th February at 9.30am
St John’s Church, Bridgetown
COMMUNION by EXTENSION (Order 1)
• officiant: Tony Gregg (Reader)
UPCOMING & NEWLY-ADDED EVENTS – in and around Totnes
Friday 19th February to
Sunday 21st February
St Mary’s Church, Totnes
FROM SYRIA WITH LOVE
COME AND JOIN US for an art exhibition of drawings created by Syrian children living in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
There will be speeches and a presentation by Baraa Kouja and Ahmed, a Syrian Refugee who worked for the UN in Syria, at 5pm on Saturday 20th February.
The exhibition has been organised by Baraa Ehsaan Kouja, a Syrian student at the University of Exeter, and Alison Williams – and is sponsored by Totnes Citizens UK.
Watch a video by Adam Prosser:
There will be around fifty prints of drawings and paintings made by Syrian refugee children aged 12 to 18, currently living in the Al-Abrar refugee camp in Lebanon. Some of the works reflect the trauma that the young people have experienced, while others are more hopeful and optimistic. Baraa said:
“There is now a lost generation of Syrian children – children who are losing their education, who have been forced to thinkabout war and destruction rather than peace and love.
“These paintings show something of the awful reality that Syrians have endured, but also their dreams. I have lived in Exeter for a year, and have met many wonderful people working for the relief of refugees, both at the university and in the town this exhibition compliments that work by showing the real experiences of real refugees.”
Alongside each picture, as well as the title and the name of the artist, there will be a photo of the tent they are currently living in, and a brief statement of that child’s dream. Every child has the right to dream.
• scroll down for a special report with photos of the visit last month, to the Greek island of Lesbos, by the Totnes Refugee Medical Response Team
• see the facebook event page for latest news
• see also the From Syria With Love project page
UPDATED: Saturday 20th February from 11am to 12noon
St Mary’s Church, Totnes
Coffee concert by NEWTON ABBOT UKULELE CLUB
Watch a video – they spend ages tuning up but it’s worth the wait!
• in aid of Friends of St Mary’s
• entry £5, tickets available here
• homemade cakes and coffee on sale
Saturday 20th February from 11am to 4pm
The Conference Centre, Buckfast Abbey, Devon TQ11 0EE
DAY OF REFLECTION
In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis calls us all to become more active in the work of protecting creation – that is, both the wider ecology of our world and our brothers and sisters living in poverty – and to find real answers to our planet’s social and environmental crisis, because “a technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress” (LS, #194).
The Day of Reflection will be following the methodology of the encyclical itself – seeing what is good and what is challenging around us in our common home, reflecting on Scripture and Church teaching, asking ourselves how best to respond, and celebrating creation together.
• FULL DETAILS on the Events page
• there is no cost for the Day of Reflection
• to book your place, please contact CAFOD Plymouth by Monday 15th February by email or telephone 0792 0751180
Friday 26th February from 10am to 12.30pm
Methodist Church Hall, Totnes
Network of Wellbeing presents an
You are warmly invited to come along to help develop ideas and enthusiasm for a Share Shop in Totnes. Having your input would be great, the event is free, however please book via this link so we know approximate numbers.
Share Shop Inspiration Morning
10:00am Arrival and tea / coffee
10.15am Introductions and Inspiration from Frome Share Shop (video)
10:40am Ideal vision for a Share Shop in Totnes
Small groups generating ideas for the Share Shop:
● finding a suitable venue
● finding ‘things’ we’d love in the shop
● promoting the Share Shop
12:00pm Sharing the plan forward
Hope you are able to come.
Totnes Project Coordinator
Network of Wellbeing (NOW)
• read a longer version on the Events page
• telephone 01803 849107 or mobile 07783 262302
facebook • Twitter • LinkedIn • Instagram
NEW: Saturday 27th February from 10am to 2pm
Totnes Methodist Church
The slogan for Fairtrade Fortnight this year from
27th February to 13th March is:
SIT DOWN FOR BREAKFAST, STAND UP FOR FARMERS
Breakfast will be served including hot drinks, muesli, bananas, cake and biscuits. All will be Fairly Traded and made with Fairtrade ingredients as far as possible.
Viv Elce will be there with a Traidcraft stall.
COME TO OUR BIG BREW is Traidcraft‘s invitation slogan. Viv will explain the roll of Traidcraft‘s work.
• please come along with family and friends to help promote Fairtrade
NEW: Friday 4th March at 11am
St Mary’s and St Georges’ RC Church, Totnes
WOMEN’S WORLD DAY OF PRAYER
Everyone is welcome to this service, which has been prepared by the women of Cuba.
• please can you display the poster if possible – many thanks, Anne Binns – coordinator
Friday 4th March
at 6.45pm for a 7.30pm start
St John’s Church, Bridgetown
The Rotary Club of Totnes presents the
PLYMOUTH AREA POLICE CHOIR
in aid of their charities. “It is the third time we have done this and it has proved very successful because they are so good!”
• tickets £8 per person, includes free refreshments, available from Stephen Evans on 01803 866844
• numbers limited to 150
Saturday 5th March 6.30pm
St John’s Church, Bridgetown
MESSY CHURCH BRING & SHARE
We do hope you will be able to come. Please let Diana know whether you are able to attend or not.
Look forward to seeing you there.
• more about Messy Church here
• see some photos of Messy Church
Saturday 5th March at 7.30pm
St Mary’s Church, Totnes
Totnes Early Music Society presents
As Our Sweet Cords and Discords Mixed Be
Jerome Bassano Fantasia 1
John Dowland The King of Denmark’s Almain
Anthony Holborne Heigh Ho Holiday
Christopher Tye In Nomine Seldom Sene
Christopher Tye In Nomine Re la re
Christopher Tye In Nomine Saye So
Giovanni Coperario Fantasia in G
John Dowland Earl of Essex’s Galliard
John Dowland Captain Digorie Piper his Galliard
John Dowland Mr George Whitehead’s Almain
Osbert Parsley Parsley’s Clocke
The five award-winning members of Consortium5 are celebrating 10 years together with the launch of their second album, featuring some of their favourite repertoire from the heyday of English consort music, the English Renaissance. At this time, the Fantasia and In Nomine became significant compositional forms, reflecting a new interest in instrumental writing. Their concert includes works played on an array of different sized recorders.
• tickets are £12 on the door (£5 for students & under 18s) from Dartington Box Office 01803 847070 or on the door
Saturday 12th March from 3.30pm to 5.30pm
St John’s Church, Bridgetown
We had a great time at the February session!
theme this time: Jesus and the Tax Man
• more about Messy Church here
• see some photos of Messy Church
NEW: Sunday 13th March at 7.30pm
The Great Hall, Dartington
DEVONLY VOICES CHOIR + TQ9 JAZZ BAND
In aid of Totnes Caring.
• tickets £10 (£8 conc.) from Dartington Box Office
on 01803 847070
SUPPORT FOR REFUGEES – special feature
To complement this weekend’s Art Exhibition by Syrian refugee children, at St Mary’s Church, Totnes (see event details, listed above) – and the accompanying speeches and presentation on Saturday 21st February at 5pm – we are featuring a special report sent to us by Dr Abby Fearon, a member of the Totnes Refugee Medical Response Team of GPs who recently volunteered help in the Greek islands to arriving refugees…
Report from the Totnes Refugee Medical Response Team
ON NEW YEAR’S DAY the Totnes Refugee Medical Response Team travelled to Lesbos, Greece. Our aim was to help meet the medical needs of arriving refugees who are fleeing atrocities in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other countries.
Over half a million refugees have arrived in Greece in 2015 alone. They travel by small rubber boat arranged by smugglers in Turkey. The boats are built for 15, but they often cram in 30 to 40 people. If the weather conditions are favourable the crossing can be uneventful, however, engines often fail or stormy seas can result in significant loss of life.
• watch a videoclip from 5th January, with the team’s spokesperson Dr Abby Fearon:
Our role was at the registration camp away from the beaches. Whilst we were there approximately 2000 people were at the camp, however, there was only accommodation for 800. This meant only the most vulnerable were selected to sleep inside. The camp was an old detention centre which meant there was a lot of razor wire and chain link fencing; not a particularly welcoming sight for families that were arriving. However, it did feel secure, particularly as many had had to sleep outside in dangerous circumstances whilst travelling to reach Turkey.
We were responsible for many pregnant women, babies, toddlers, disabled and elderly patients. Meeting them and hearing about what they had escaped from was quite traumatic, however, we were able to offer them care and reassurance, particularly for pregnant women who were able to hear their unborn babies’ heartbeats after the traumatic journey. This was made possible with equipment we had purchased from the kind donations we received before we left.
(Photo: Dr Andrew Frankland from Totnes examines a baby.)
Many were suffering from illnesses we would see in the UK such as asthma, diabetes and pneumonia, but also conditions most of us had never seen before such as frostbite, trench foot and scars from assault; we met one teenager who had been a victim of stoning whilst in Syria. We also saw some rare conditions such as trachoma; an infectious eye condition that results in painful scarring and visual loss, primarily found in the developing world.
We found the refugees to be incredibly generous and often selfless. Those that could speak English would work alongside us to help fellow refugees, despite the fact they often had not slept for days. We had one teenager who was the sickest person in the room, but as the only English speaker she carried on translating until everyone had been treated.
The stories they told were often harrowing. We met people who had been beaten and robbed with no option but to sleep outside, sheltering in woodland or abandoned cars. We heard of one family who had lost their toes after they had their shoes stolen during the night; their options were to lie down and die or to continue walking through the snow without any foot wear. In the 21st Century we should not be treating children for frost bite and trench foot, regardless of your country of birth.
We met children whose parents had been killed in Afghanistan and were trying to reach other family members in Germany, despite having no money.
The amazing response to our fundraising resulted in over £9000 being donated. This was crucial in being able to assist the refugees in a number of ways. With this money we were able to purchase a range of medical equipment; as a result the clinic room now has advanced resuscitation kit. We have stocked the shelves with an array of medication and ensured there are sufficient medical instruments on hand.
As well as meeting medical needs, we have also tried to help in other ways too. We left information sheets in Arabic and Farsi to advise about the importance of breastfeeding, particularly when the trauma of their journey has interrupted feeding. A supply of infant formula was also purchased for those women who were unable to restart breast or cup feeding.
Patients suffering with trench foot could not afford to rest and allow time for healing. To enable them to carry their families through Macedonia and Serbia we purchased 200 pairs of shoes. We saw a lot of painful and often infected nappy rash as families were trying to eke out their supply of nappies. This combined with immersion in cold salt water for many hours meant this was a significant problem. We bought every tube of nappy rash cream available in Lidl!
Some of the women told us they had not washed their children for many weeks, so to have warm water was a blessing; we bought enough soap to keep the compound going for several weeks. Scabies was also a problem and to try and reduce further spread we thought it important to help fund the daily laundering of the blankets.
We also saw patients who had broken bones many days or weeks earlier. They had tried to splint them as best they could with bits of cardboard, however, with our funds we were able to buy a good supply of crutches to help them on their journey. We also bought wheel chairs and stretchers, not only for our compound, but also for the medical teams on the beaches who found themselves often dealing with collapsed patients.
Because of the generosity of the donations we received we are able to fund permanent signs indicating that people could sleep inside; we often found families heading out into the woodland in sub-zero temperatures for the night because they did not know there was sheltered accommodation.
We paid for our own travel and accommodation for the nine days we were there and the time seemed to go by in a flash. We believe it showed that short term volunteers can make a significant impact. If you would like to consider volunteering, no special skills are required. There are a number of roles from helping people out of wet clothes, to erecting shelters or spotting incoming boats with binoculars. We met a variety of volunteers from many countries doing whatever they could to ease the suffering of the refugees. There was a real sense of multinational teamwork united by humanity.
We would like to sincerely thank everyone that donated funds and clothing that has directly gone to support desperate people.
If you would like to consider volunteering we would suggest the following charities: Lighthouse Refugee Relief Lesvos and A Drop in the Ocean (both receive refugees from the boats); Dirty Girls of Lesvos Island (recycle, wash and dry clothing and blankets), and Off Track Health (for those with any medical qualifications, they manage the health needs of the wider refugee camp.)
Dr Abby Fearon, Totnes
• click the photos to view them larger
• the Totnes Refugee Medical Response Team will be giving a talk in the Civic Hall on Tuesday 1st March at 6pm as so many people have asked them about the trip – there will be lots of pictures and info about how to volunteer if people are keen
Note from Liz Waterson: St Mary’s Church has just sent knitting, clothes, bedding, etc., to Syria, Calais and Dunkirk. Also, a very big thank you to all who contributed to the Christmas Tree Festival – we raised £220 for Beyond Borders Totnes.
COMMUNITY NEWS with Liz Waterson
THE PSALMS…Prayers for Today’s Church
(York Course 2016)
Starts on Tuesday 23rd February at The Rectory
followed by Tuesday 1st March, Tuesday 8th March, Tuesday 15th March and Tuesday 22nd March.
• if you are interested in attending this group, please contact the Rector on 01803 865615
Tuesday Afternoon House Group
We will meet again on 23rd February:
2pm at Mary Harris’ house: 4 Riverside, Swallowfields (further details ring Liz Waterson 01803 849345) or
7.30 to 9pm at Tony & Carolyn Stilwell’s house, 3 Sparrow Road, Totnes, telephone 01803 863030.
We’ll be continuing a study: Fruitfulness on the Frontline by Mark Greene, looking at the practical ways we can share our faith.
Lenten Appeal for Water Aid
– turn your coins into clean water
Once again, we will be collecting for Water Aid during Lent – the work they do is very important particularly to the peoples of Africa and Asia. Martin Harvey has jar labels and further information, or visit the Water Aid website.
• as per previous years, Martin would like ultimately to be given notes or cheques made out to ‘Water Aid’
• last year’s appeal raised £317.85
every Tuesday in Lent
Take advantage of the chance to enjoy a simple lunch of soup and bread in aid of charity. St Mary’s will be providing the lunch on Tuesday 1st March at St Mary and St George Catholic Church Hall, so please make a special effort to come.
The Deanery confirmation this year will be held at Marldon at 3pm on Sunday 3rd July.
• please let Julian or Debbie know if you are interested (children or adults)
Food in Community
We held the first of this year’s ‘pay what you feel’ Community Cafés, at the Methodist Church Hall, Fore St, Totnes, on Saturday 6th February. Encouraged by good feedback and a regular following, we have decided to run these on the first Saturday of every month.
• fresh organic food created from surplus produce is served anytime between 12.30pm to 2.30pm
Rough sleeping in Torbay
Details of the Torbay Winter Night Shelter scheme, providing shelter, evening meals and breakfasts – by a simple referral procedure – until the end of February.
• click the image to enlarge it
• or click here to download a printable poster
Food Bank collections
Remember: You can now bring your food bank donations – especially toiletries and cleaning products please – to any Sunday service at St Mary’s Church.
No need to wait for the first Sunday of the month! Many thanks to everyone who donates – your help is greatly appreciated.
• please check all sell-by dates!
• further information from Liz Waterson on 01803 84934
• more about Totnes Food Bank here
This issue includes:
- Martyr’s Church in Danger! – by Carolyn Stilwell
- Lent – by the Reverend Gill Still
- Take Part in Take Heart on Valentine’s Day – by Suzanne Dugmore
- Thieves Held Captive by Porridge – by Helga Watts
- Traidcraft – by Viv Elce
- It’s Just a Thought – by the Reverend Cliff Berdinner
- How to Overcome Anxiety – another extract from UCB’s Word For Today booklet (available free in both churches), see also www.ucb.co.uk
- Spring into Caring for God’s Acre – news of a new documentary film
- Contemplate the New Year – Sundays@7 is a new Service at Exeter Cathedral
- Talking Jesus – The Right Reverend Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter
- A Helping Hand – by Natacha. a victim of torture
- Working for Transformation – by Chris Forster
- New Faces – John Searson + the Reverend Simon Holland take up new posts in Devon
- …and as always, Contact Details, Events, Adverts and Service Times
We warmly welcome two of our Team Churches, St Mary’s, Dartington (left) and St Barnabas, Brooking (right), who now have special pages on this website.
• look under the Team Churches menu, or click here for service times and other information, and here to read about the History, and Friends of, St Mary’s Dartington.
You can now download an invoice (Word document), updated February 2016, for the core costs (Service, Marriage Certificate, Calling of Banns, optional Banns Certificate and heating if applicable) of a Wedding Service provided by the Totnes Team Ministry.
• full details HERE
• if anyone would like to send us photos from their wedding service, we’d love to have some to post on the website.
Clergy days off
Thursdays (Reverend Julian C Ould) and Fridays (Reverend Debbie Parsons) – please respect this by not contacting them on those days!
The Cross in Your Pocket
Several of our ladies have been embroidering pocket crosses – they are free and can be found in St George’s Chapel.
They have been extremely popular and we have received many thanks for them. If you would like to help make some more, please contact Jean Marr on: 01803 847839
• the beautiful cross pictured left (click to enlarge) was made by one of the stewards at St Mary’s Church, Totnes
Care Gift Account
From time to time churches and individuals have been giving me money for the Food Bank, the Drop In and for Christians Against Poverty all linked and based in Totnes.
In order to target our donations most effectively, I opened this account so that the amount can grow. Small donations of between £1 and £10 across the Team have grown quickly and we have, for example, been able to give £60 to Christians Against Poverty for their Christmas Hamper Scheme.
If you would like to give a small donation, just put it in a envelope marking it Care Gift Account and drop it the collection box at the back of the church. It will be banked, and as soon as we have between £50 and £100, I will contact the charities to see where the money is most needed.
• more about Care Gift Account here
• telephone Liz Waterson on 01803 849345 or email Liz
at St John’s Church, every Friday 5pm to 5.45pm
• all welcome
Every third Thursday of the month at The Seven Stars, between 10am and 12noon. Meet at the large table at the back, behind the bar, for coffee, etc.
• contact Anne Binns for more information on 01803 840146
Would you like to have a roast lunch at the Albert Inn, Bridgetown, on the first Sunday of the month, with members of St John’s and St Mary’s churches?
• to book, please ring Anne Binns on 01803 840146 by the previous Thursday