Alton Webteam: December 2016
A Very British Nativity
A film released this month highlights some of the challenges facing asylum seekers in the UK through a modern retelling of the nativity story.
Whilst primarily focusing on a young Mary and Joseph's efforts to find somewhere safe to stay in the UK, the film, 'A Very British Nativity', also includes a cameo from the wise men who have ditched their trusty camels in favour of Micro Scooters. However, their mission to deliver gifts is quickly scuppered by an Immigration Enforcement Officer, who is concerned by the group's unspecified travel plans...
This release coincided with the release of new figures from the Government revealing that in September 2016, 37,958 asylum seekers in the UK were in receipt of accommodation and/or financial support of less than £6 per day.
Martha, aged 8, who attends a Methodist Church and played Mary in the film said:
"Mary must have felt tired because she did so much walking with her suitcase and her baby. She would have been sad because she couldn't find a home and worried about her baby. I think people should watch this film. We all need to help people who have left their home because something bad has happened."
The film was produced by the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT): a coalition of four Church denominations in the UK: the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church.
You can view and download the film on the Methodist News website: methodist-news.org.uk and there are further resources there about the issues raised.
A Christmas message from the President and Vice-President of the Conference
In their Christmas message Roger Walton and Rachel Lampard speak about the Nativity, Syria and unpromising situations.
They offer a challenge to the Church, saying:
"Our faith surely prompts us not to turn away purely because any situation looks unpromising. This doesn't mean facing it with blind and passive optimism. Instead we have a hope which is grounded in the foolishness of God, which is wiser and stronger than wisdom and strength of the world. And God is at work in our world, and invites us to join in. As the theologian Ken Leech said: 'hope isn't a state of mind; it's a piece of work'. In the unpromising situations in our world, where is God inviting us to join in? Where is God asking us to see the treasure that is hidden within the clay jars? Where is God asking us, not to be optimistic, but rather to be hopeful?"
You can watch or read the text of the Christmas message on the Methodist News website: methodist-news, org,uk. Alternatively you can listen
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