Fishing for hope – the hope of our future

 Mick Shepherd is a CAFOD Volunteer from St Joseph in Greenwich. He lives near Norwood Lake. He is sharing with us his experience of how fishing is about hope and how hope is at the core of his volunteering. Mick has a more meaningful understanding of the joy of fishing and the hope of the catch. Here is what he says – 

Peter - a local fisherman at Norwood Lake

Peter our local fisherman is always hopeful of a great catch at Norwood Lake. We too should possess an abundance of hope.

‘Norwood Lake is quite near my house, a large lake teeming with fish and wildlife. I walk there most days but have never understood fishing – I see the same men sitting there every day, lines in the water, waiting for a catch. They always throw the fish back so I think, ‘What’s the point? Why spend every afternoon just sitting, waiting? Then yesterday I got it! – it’s about hope, they are sitting there and they are hoping! In fact, they are full of hope renewed with each day’s fishing!

Without hope, we ware all finished: in the morning we wake up hoping it will be fine; we go shopping, hoping to find the   things we need. We hope that the children have a good day at school (the first thing we ask when they get home): later on, we hope they will pass their exams; we arrange a holiday, hoping it will be sunny: we turn on the TV, hoping to see our favourite programme. When hospitalised and needing an operation, we hope it will be successful(we dread hearing ‘It’s hopeless, there’s no hope of recovery’). In prison, the only thing keeping prisoners alive is the hope that they will gain early release for good behaviour – without hope, imprisonment is a death sentence.

Peter - Bringing in the catch

The hope of the catch is symbolic of life’s hope

Once, I brought a pupil (Kriya, 10) to St. Joseph’s; Kriya was a Hindu, keen to learn about Christianity. He joined the children at Thursday mass while I led them in song. Afterwards I took him round the church, showing him the stations of the Cross and the statues. Afterwards he said ‘Mick, I think your religion is very sad’ (indicating Jesus on the Cross) ‘Hinduism is very joyful’.

I explained that the Cross was not the end of the story but its beginning, a symbol of hope, love and forgiveness , the empty Cross and empty tomb the ‘sure hope’ that Christians believed in.

 

Peter the Fisherman

Peter says that this lake is a peaceful sanctuary and so we are encouraged to always be peaceful and hopeful in life.

The work of CAFOD is based on giving people hope in some of the poorest and most deprived areas of the world: the old adage is true, ‘Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day: teach a man how to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime’. And this is precisely the approach adopted by CAFOD, one of giving people the wherewithal and the means to enable them to provide for themselves, their families and their communities. This enabling help gives people new hope, and this is why I continue to support CAFOD and its wonderful work.

The next time I walk round Norwood Lake, I shall have more understanding, not just of fishing but of the ‘sure hope’ we Christians all share’.

For hope – Proverbs 13:12 says ‘… is a desire fulfilled – is a tree of life’. We at CAFOD help our brothers and sisters to achieve their desires, which is like a tree ‘planted by the rivers of waters’. Refreshing waters that makes our desires bloom in the hope of the now and the hope of a better future –  what a catch is hope!

If you wish to volunteer for CAFOD, please take a look at the various roles on our website or call us at the Southwark Volunteer Center 020-8466-9901.

 

Freda’s Summer Party

By CAFOD – Southwark Office

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John and Freda

Freda and John Vine, held an afternoon tea party to fundraise for CAFOD in June. As volunteers, they organised the event in their garden, attracting numerous visitors.

We would like to warmly thank Freda for this wonderful initiative and commitment. We would also  to give a special thanks to all those who helped. Including those in the kitchen who prepared food and cleared up, and the 4 young “waitresses” who attended on guests. Everyone had a lovely afternoon in Bexleyheath.

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A Selection of Cakes

Freda said “We were pleased to welcome Father Jim and Father Romanus from St. Stephen’s Church, along with about 70 other friends, neighbours, parishioners and well-behaved children. Everyone tucked into the sandwiches, cakes and the delicious scones, courtesy of our friend and CAFOD co supporter, Jo Stanton. The tea and coffee were nearly as popular as the soft drinks and water!”

“A total of £626.60 has been raised for CAFOD’s Partners. This included some donations we were pleased to receive from people unable to attend, and from the sale of some plants. £30 worth of donations went to the Greenwich and Bexley Hospice.”

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Plants for Sale

Overall, the afternoon was a success. “I spent wonderful afternoon in John and Freda’s lovely garden, eating a delicious afternoon and enjoying the company of all the parishioners that attended.  John and Freda do so much for CAFOD and numerous other charities, and their warmth and enthusiasm was infectious.  It was great to see that they had solar panels on their roof and water butts in the garden – care for God’s creation in action!” Jessica Coffin from CAFOD. “It was so warm that people were seeking shady parts of the garden, and even once the day had cooled down, nobody seemed to want to go home!”

Many thanks for all those who generously donated raffle prizes. We look forward to seeing you all again this time next year.

If you are inspired by Freda and John’s successful fundraiser, we encourage you to organise your own event within your parish and raise money for CAFOD.

 

Acclaimed Electronic Duo Inspire Greenwich Students to Act on Climate Change

By CAFOD – Southwark Office

Thanks to Hal St. John and Cherrie Anderson, founders of the electronic band ‘Ooberfuse’ from Woolwich, students from St. Ursula’s Convent School in Greenwich had a musical workshop on renewable energy.

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Students showcasing their lyrics

The critically acclaimed duo visited the school on Monday 10th July, giving students the opportunity to learn about CAFOD’s latest Power To be campaign and the significance of renewable energy for the world’s poorest communities. The students wrote their own lyrics, inspired by the campaign, and even had the chance to sing and showcase their work with Ooberfuse. The school hall may have been a contrast to the band’s latest venues, the Ministry of Sound and the O2, but everyone had a fantastic time.

Both Hal and Cherrie were really pleased with how successful the day was. Hal was especially impressed by the lyrics written by the students. “It is always a tall order to make scientific problems attractive to a young audience, as usually their minds are anywhere else. But it helped that we focused it around things that they already knew about.  The real test was when they were writing their own lyrics but when they read them back and they were such powerful lyrics, it was great to see.”

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Learning about ‘Power To Be’

Ooberfuse was formed in 2010, and within just a few years their quirky and upbeat songs have been praised by many, including Boy George, The Guardian and BBC 6’s Tom Robinson. Their music has since taken them all over the world from Madrid, where they played for two million young Catholics on World Youth Day, to Iraq, where they played at a refugee camp in Erbil. Both social justice and inequality are strong themes within their music. They are also soon to release a song about the plight of refugees. Whilst promoting social justice and their Catholic faith through music, the Ooberfuse was motivated to get involved with CAFOD’s work, and run a workshop for the students at St. Ursula’s Convent School.

Cherrie was originally from the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013. “Climate change was just an idea but when Typhoon Haiyan hit my hometown it became so real. That is when we decided to devote our music to social justice and raising awareness about important issues.  After the typhoon CAFOD  were one of the first aid agencies on the ground responding to the need, so it’s great to be involved with them now.”

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‘Power To Be’ display, created by students 

Through our Power To Be campaign, communities have been encouraged to lobby the World Bank to invest more in local renewable energy. Despite the fight to reduce worldwide poverty, only less than 3% of their expenditures go towards renewable energy. Through our campaign, we are asking the UK’s representative at the World Bank, Melanie Robinson, to use her influence to ensure that children everywhere have the power to achieve great things and lift themselves out of poverty, without harming the planet.

Our message is reaching many people, and thanks to a fun-packed day, students were made aware of our responsibility to be stewards for our planet. “People in places like Kenya are suffering because they do not have access to electricity. Around the world, one in six people don’t have electricity; that’s equal to 1.2 billion people and we should do something about it.” (Saumu, Year 8).

School Chaplain, Susan Elderfield, was also inspired by the duo’s message, “I don’t think we should forget the message of today; how we should look after the planet. Each one of us has a responsibility – from switching off the lights to getting involved with NGOs to becoming politicians. It’s our planet and our job to look after it.”

To engage in our Power To Be campaign, you can sign our petition online, order action cards at our shop to sign within your parish, or organise a Power To Be Liturgy to continue to raise awareness, pray and spread the message.