St Andrew's
Peace & Justice Group

The name says it all really. Peace and justice is our focus - this Group is open to anyone who is interested in world and local issues, campaigns and human rights. You don't need to be a churchgoer or a member of St Andrew's to attend events organised by the St Andrew's Peace & Justice Group or support the work they are involved with - please check back for updates on this page about what's coming up and how you can get involved.
 

Migration and Refugees

News from filmmakers Catherine Henderson (writer and producer), Rosie Wyllie (animator) and Katie Seaton (composer-sound designer) 

catherine-kt-rosieThey're at it again! There's a new animation project happening. Last September the first film on which they worked together, Suspended, was premiered in St Andrew’s Church. It was made in conjunction with Herts Welcomes Refugees and tells the story of a man resettled in Hertfordshire under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme, a former restaurant owner who had to flee Syria to protect his family (you can see the film via the link below).


"A film for children as well as adults... 
a story that places us all at its centre"

 

Their new project is also about migration issues, but takes a much more holistic view, and is more like animated poetry. Catherine Henderson, who is leading the work, says:

It is something that has grown out of my hope that the stories of difference and division concerning migrants and refugees can be countered by a story that places us all at its centre, where our connections to each other can be better understood and valued. Everyone alive today does, in fact, share common ancestors around 3,400 years ago. I highly recommend Adam Rutherford's book A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived, which is a brilliantly readable exploration of our shared history as it is currently understood. Good lockdown reading!

I have been writing for and working with children for a good many years, and wanted this film to be for children as well as adults. It is children's voices that speak the script, and I have read it through with students in years 6 and 7 and their teachers. I have also spoken in local schools about refugees and explored attitudes to migration with students in years 9-13. Aspects of the film can relate to the National Curriculum for KS2/3.
 

"If we understand our shared history
and how interconnected we all are,
perhaps there is a chance we
will treat each other better in the future"

 

Beginning with prehistoric migration out of Africa, the film touches on what has driven migration through history; how everything in nature migrates; how our ideas and technologies, languages, cultures and religions are shaped and shared by migration; how humans collaborate and form communities, and how they sometimes treat people from different, particularly migrant, communities with suspicion. The film ends with a contemporary refugee telling the story of our common human history, and hints at a future when far more people will be driven from their homes by the changing climate. This, for me, is what makes this story urgent: if we understand our shared history and how interconnected we all are, perhaps there is a chance we will treat each other better in the future.

All this is just touched upon in the film, which will be quite short - probably less than 15 minutes. It is told as a story, and I hope will have a dreamlike slightly mythic quality. Certainly the early animation work has this feeling: we have not yet started on the sound, although we have all discussed this and the composer has ideas forming. I think story speaks to us on a deeper level than a factual approach might: Einstein said, 'If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy stories. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy stories'. It is the stories of division and of difference that are currently so destructive in our political culture. Their elements include once-great nations assailed by enemies, and champions returning to defend their people. These are tropes from myth and legend, which is why they are so powerful. Our common history shares elements of myth: our connection with all living things and our collective overcoming of adversity to create richly varied communities. This is the story we want to tell.
 

How you can contribute to the project

If you think you would like to contribute to the making of this film, we are being supported by the Lansbury House Trust, registered charity 306139, who have kindly offered to receive donations on our behalf. So far we have raised a little over £2,000 of the £7,000 needed to complete the film.

You can send donations to: 
Lansbury House Trust Fund,
PO Box 157, BIGGLESWADE SG18 1BG

(NB this is not postage-free)        
Cheques are to be marked ‘Inscape’

If you have a CAF account, you can pay online to LHTF

You can also pay cheques or CAF vouchers directly into the Trust Fund's bank account:
Lansbury House Trust Fund,
Sort code: 08 92 99
Account number: 65093117

Please identify the amount paid with 'Inscape'
 

Want to be kept up-to-date on developments?

If you would like to be 'kept in the loop' as the film develops, please let me know (cat_hen@hotmail.co.uk).
 

'Suspended'

For an idea of the style you can watch the previous film made by Katie and Rosie, here: https://www.hwsf.org.uk/film.html

 


Previous events from the P&J Group...

Asylum DialoguesThe Asylum DialoguesIAFlogo3colour

Saturday 5 March 2016, 7.30pm, St Andrew's Church

The Peace & Justice Group were proud to host a performance of The Asylum Dialogues by actors from the human rights-focussed theatre group Ice and Fire

Scripted by Sonja Linden 
Conceived and researched by Christine Bacon
 
Drawn from real life conversations with three pairs of friends – one an asylum seeker and the other a British citizen – this script explored the positive transformations created by their encounters with each other. 

The performance has been described as: 'enlightening', 'amazing', 'exactly the kind of truth that should be presented on the British stage today', 'very moving', 'empowering', 'makes me want to take action'.  

The audience at St Andrew's were clearly moved and challenged by what they heard on 5 March, and after the performance many asked questions of the director and cast to try to understand more about the issue of asylum. 

The evening was free to all who came, with Ice and Fire offering their performance at no charge. Donations given by those who came totalled £300 and this was given to the Refugee Council, a UK charity helping refugees to settle in the UK.

Click here to find out more about Ice and Fire.


Resettling Syrian families in Herts

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Matthew 25,35) RefugeesWelcome Winnond

In June 2015, Laila Alodaat gave a talk at St Andrew's entitled Syria: The Inside Story. The audience there were moved and graphically informed by Laila about what has been happening and how it came about. Following this, a meeting was held in July 2015 at St Andrew's to discuss how to take forward the scheme to resettle Syrian refugees in Hertfordshire. Since that meeting, and the escalation of what is now the biggest refugee crisis in recorded history, local people came together and formed a group, Herts Welcomes Syrian Familes (now Herts Welcomes Refugees). You can find out much more about HWR at their website.

For full details about how the Peace & Justice Group are involved with resettling refugees in Herts, please click here...


 

Earlier P&J Group events have included...

Peacebuilding, Prayer and...Puddings! - June 2016 find out more about the charity involved here
The Asylum Dialogues (a performance by Ice & Fire) - March 2016
Syria: The Inside Story June 2015 find out more here
Persecution, Prayers and…Puddings?! - February 2015
We heard from Jill Nugent on behalf of Open Doors, an organisation supporting persecuted Christians in places like North Korea, Iran and China. Find out more about Open Doors here
Service of Hope - January 2015
Write for Rights Campaign - December 2014
Vigil for Bhopal - November 2014

Contact

For more information, or to be added to our mailing list, please get in touch with:
Maria Henriksson-Bell
mariahenrikssonbell@me.com
or
Katie Seaton
ktseahorse5@hotmail.com  /  01992 586442

Image courtesy of Winnond / freedigitalphotos.net