By Clare Creegan
FLORISTS from north-west England came together last week to produce floral displays to raise money to support displaced and refugee families in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The event, entitled The Work of Your Hands, took place from 25th – 27th June 2016 at Lancaster Cathedral and was organised by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Nearly 1,000 people visited from all over north-west England and Wales to see numerous floral arrangements which focused on the history of the charity and its work around the world.
The flower festival raised more than £6,000 which ACN will use to support three families of five in Syria and Iraq for one year each.
Much of the fundraising came from the sponsorship of the paper flowers in the ACN Prayer Garden set up inside the cathedral, by benefactors who donated to ‘plant’ a bloom in memory of family or friends.
Messages of support and inscriptions in memory of a loved one or a private intention were also added to paper leaves in the garden.
The three-day event was attended by students of the Cathedral Catholic Primary School in Lancaster.
Year Six pupils created six window boxes inspired by the charity’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to His Children, which were on display and raised over £500 through the initiative ‘Prayers from Our Hearts’, available to primary schools wishing to support ACN’s work with refugees and displaced people in the Middle East.
Dr Caroline Hull, ACN’s North-West Manager, described the success of the event. She said: “‘The Work of Your Hands’ has been a wonderful experience from start to finish.
“We’ve had so much support from the flower clubs and florists who worked to create the stunning displays and from the clergy and parishioners at Lancaster Cathedral who made us feel so welcome and provided such warm hospitality.
“When we contacted florists and flower clubs throughout the region and sent each group a theme and a bit of background information about our charity, we never dreamed that displays of such beauty and insight would be the result.
“From the two floral pigs rooting at the feet of the Bacon Priest to the stark simplicity of the red arrangements in the display about persecuted clergy around the world, ‘The Work of Your Hands’ drove home the powerful message of ACN: Persecuted Christians need our help and together, through prayer, information and action, ACN and its many benefactors can ease the plight of the suffering Church.”
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom St John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in more than 140 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 176 languages and more than 51 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow.
For more information please contact Dr John Newton, ACN Press Officer, 020 8661 5167.