If lockdown was hard for us here, imagine what it must be like for our friends over in Uganda at the moment. As I write, they are in full lockdown, and our team reports that it is the poorest of the poor who are really struggling to survive. We worry about the poorest in the communities—elderly widows for example—and we pray for the street children, who usually manage to eat each day by labouring in the market places. With the markets shut, they have no way to make money to get something to eat.
The Amaha We Uganda Team have been instrumental in linking the most vulnerable poor to the local churches, and managing emergency food distribution. This is not the kind of work that they usually do — after all, Amaha We Uganda is not a relief agency — but they have surrounded the most vulnerable with prayer, in their hour of need, and shown them love. Thank you to all of you in the UK who responded to the emergency appeal. You can donate online here for this work, which is still ongoing: https://tinyurl.com/AWUcrisis
As if this wasn’t enough to be doing, William and his team are persevering with the unenviable task of planting trees. We have joined Bishop Nasen in his vision to have a tree nursery in each archdeaconry of the South Rwenzori Diocese – 13 in total. Three nurseries have already provided 33,500 saplings and are now in the process of being replanted to grow new saplings. Another five nurseries are under way in the areas of most need. This is a crucial project, since the trees they are planting are the future hope for the region. Reforesting the hills is vital in maintaining farmable soil, locking away carbon, providing food & shelter and preventing disastrous land slides. The photo below shows some of the very first saplings that were handed out at the women’s conference at Ibanda, and planted on the slopes of The Rwenzori. They have grown beautifully. Can you help us to keep AWU going and plant some more trees please? A Tree nursery costs around £500. Every penny goes a long way in Uganda! https://tinyurl.com/AWUganda Thank you for your support!
We have been offering support for the local community in a number of ways during lockdown. We had always collected for the Farnham Foodbank, but we have also been supporting local families in need as we have heard about needs and through the school. We have been amazed at the donations both of food and of money, and it has made a real difference.
We were also involved in coordinating a response in lockdowns and have helped with prescriptions, moving bins and a number of other needs for our neighbours.
We would love to look at this moving forward – watch this space!
Contact: Revd Claire email@example.com
St Peter’s Ash: Care and Share Shelf
The current pandemic has been a difficult time for many people. We all want to help. Outside St. Peter’s church we have a Care and Share shelf where anyone can take food that they need or leave something to help a neighbour.
If you would like to donate, tinned and packaged food, long life milk, tea and coffee are very popular. We try to put out enough to make a decent meal. It is topped up daily. Items can be placed on the shelf or left at the Rectory door. Contact: Barbara Rose 07761808727
Fun, food and friendship at St Mary’s and The Chapel
Aren’t we lucky that Revd Neil is amazing with food? Not only has he served socially distanced teas in the vicarage garden, and pop-up take-away pancakes from the shed when regulations allowed it, but now he has built a huge pizza oven in the vicarage garden, turning outdoor meetings into a festival of flavour!
Look out for kids in the kitchen too! During the winter, Neil teamed up with Anna and Charlie to do ‘St Mary’s junior bake-off’ & stories on Zoom with some of the kids. It was huge fun, messy at times, and they even had a dance-off while their creations were in the oven. The learning has definitely stuck—one of our 9yo girls remembered the recipe by heart and made an extra batch of cakes the next morning! (Ed.—Quick, put her name down on the church coffee rota!) Now that school is back, it’s over to Alex and the Chapel Kids toddler group who are busy planting up the Chapel garden with incredible edibles. Watch this space — they are literally growing their own fruit snacks!
Now it’s getting serious: Our very own vicar is running the Chapel Project Cooking School! Fareshare and Tesco (who give us a lot of our ‘on its last date’ fresh items for the local food parcels) have created a community chefs cooking school project. We jumped at the chance to join in and now have 15 families & community cooks signed up to zoom in and cook along, learning about nutrition, kitchen skills and producing some very scrummy dinners. We love the recipes Jamie Oliver has lined up for us, and it’s a lot of fun. Cooking along at home is fab, because everyone can see how to do things in their own kitchen. Ever wondered how to create a rainbow chilli, fry fabulous fishcakes or learn some nifty knife skills? We have been doing just that!
A huge thank you from all of us to Neil, and we can’t close without thanking Vicki Fox, an amazing local chef who has been instrumental in sourcing quality ingredients, making up doorstep delivery kits for those who need them, and building our confidence with variations and top tips on the Zoom sessions too.
Congratulations! Community Heroes Award for The Ash, Ash Vale & Ash Green Coronavirus Support Group
We have some seriously amazing people involved in the local Ash, Ash Vale & Ash Green Coronavirus Support Group. They are simply the best, and guess what? The Mayor of Guildford has recognised the team with a Community Heroes award! Congratulations go to everyone involved and especially Carla Morson who leads the group.
During lockdown, the team took on delivering care calls, prescriptions and shopping to people having to isolate or shield. St Mary’s also joined forces with the COVID Group to create a local Food Parcels Project, delivering food to those struggling under the financial impacts of the pandemic. The recipients are from all walks of life, and our delivery list is everchanging, as people’s circumstances change in the wake of the covid crisis. As we write this there are 32 families on the list this week. (If you’re struggling and need a food parcel you can call or text 07843 489796 or 07730 609446)
The COVID group is still going strong, helping local people and bringing the community together. It’s not too late to join in! Contact us to get involved.
We are always grateful for donations too., either store cupboard food and toiletries or donations via ‘give a little’ to help buy store cupboard items and toiletries: The donations link for online giving is: https://bit.ly/33LT1SAThank you for your support.
By Carla Morson, Ash, Ash Vale & Ash Green Coronavirus Support Group
I’m going to start by thanking all of our volunteers, whether they are part of the Food Parcels Team or not, as all have done so much to help our community over the past 10 months. Without everyone we would have been lost and unable to do much of what we have.
With so much uncertainty we are being very slick and adaptable (otherwise known as making a new plan every time the rules change!) But we do have a plan and we will be putting the mess into Messy Church for you all to enjoy some family friendly church activities in 2021. So what’s on the list?
Over eighty years ago I was marked with a sign that said I was safe. In 1940, I and many, many other children were vaccinated at the clinic in Stoke Road, Guildford. This left a scar high up on my left arm that was affectionately known by everyone as a ‘Dickie Bird’. The vaccination was to protect me against smallpox (variola), a disease that had decimated Europe throughout the middle ages. This process was followed a few weeks later by injections against Diptheria and Scarlet Fever. Since discovery of the process of vaccination, smallpox has been eliminated and is now considered exterminated.
We are through the Solstice, the daylight hours are increasing, we have survived Christmas, we have survived Brexit, we have survived Hogmanay and there is seemingly even a Covid19 vaccination that gives protection (starting a couple of weeks after the inoculation) enabling us to survive exposure to Covid19 unscathed.
A Happy New Year to you all, and a blessing on you and yours.
As we face a new lock down and schools closing once again, I have been reflecting on what we can learn about successfully surviving a crisis. How are you coping with “Lockdown 3.0”? Have look at the ‘what’s on’ page if you are looking for opportunities to connect with like-minded locals.
Looking for best practise, my thoughts turn not only to recent times, but also to the challenges faced by past generations. You may remember Eric, one of our local heroes who shared his wisdom via a video on Remembrance Day at our carpark & zoom service. I learned so much from my visit to his doorstep last year. Here are 3 things to remember as we face the latest challenges in 2021: