Wednesday, 10 June 2009

'We were there': the Anglican Franciscans

Members of the Society of St Francis (SSF) recall 4 May on their website:
Migrants to our country have long been on the edge of society, and often work for less than the minimum wage. SSF has long befriended them. In Plaistow and Hilfield we have room for one or two men in such a situation - some who have lived here for over 14 years, but with no right to work, or claim state benefits. They have blessed our communities in many ways, both in work and worship.

Brothers have been supporting the Strangers into Citizens campaign which calls for these long term migrants to be allowed to become citizens, and have attended the annual May Day rally for several years.

Yesterday, Bank Holiday Monday, Br Hugh SSF and Caroline Ugbo TO attended the service in St Margaret’s (next to Westminster Abbey) with a wonderful choir from Zimbabwe. Others attended Mass in the RC Cathedral or Muslim worship, before processing up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square where Vaughan, a postulant, and Tobias, a volunteer at Hilfield, joined them. It was a very well organised and festive day, a celebration more than a demonstration, as is to be expected from everything organised by London Citizens, the UK’s largest civic alliance. The parish in Plaistow in which the brothers are involved is a London Citizens founding parish.

It was great to be surrounded by people from all over the world, most living in London but with delegations from Birmingham and beyond. We heard Imams, MPs, Bishops and representatives from many countries – all calling for an earned amnesty for those who speak English and who have been here for at least 6 years.

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