By Rory Sheehan
AN AFTERNOON tea delivery to vulnerable and lonely people and families living in Newtown is including a traditional Syrian cake, thanks to the baking of a refugee family.Hind Al Balkhi, who moved to Newtown with her family four years ago, has become a friend of All Saints Church. She now volunteers alongside others from the church to cook and deliver regular Sunday lunches and afternoon teas.
The Vicar of All Saints, Canon Revd Nia Wyn Morris is delighted to welcome people from all faith backgrounds and none to support the local community. She said: “Hind is a beautiful practicing Muslim lady who was keen to help the community and work with her local church to do so. As a church congregation we were overwhelmed by her commitment and delighted to accept her generosity.”
Last Sunday the team cooked and delivered 83 Sunday lunches to people in the town of Newtown and the surrounding communities. The weekly delivery, in association with Newtown Network, started during the first lockdown and has continued. Families and individuals can refer themselves or are referred by the town’s foodbank, district nurses or the mental health team.
Hind said: “It is beautiful for me, a practicing Muslim to work with you, practicing Christians, to help people in need. Joining the team is an opportunity for me to meet more friends and practice my English.”
Four years ago, Newtown became a town of sanctuary to a small group of refugees fleeing war in Syria. The families have become part of the local community with children attending local schools and clubs. Members of the church regularly join the Syrian families in celebrating engagements, weddings and births.
Nia added: “Every week All Saints broadcasts a weekly service of worship via Youtube. Hind and her family follow the services regularly and always leave an encouraging comment. I’m reminded that faith doesn’t have to be a barrier between people. We often have conversations about how much common ground there is between our faiths.”
All Saints Church is in the Cedewain Mission Area, which includes villages and communities around Newtown. It is part of the Diocese of St Asaph, one of the six dioceses of the Church in Wales, an independent Province of the Anglican Communion. In normal times regular services and activities take place in 214 churches and the diocese looks after 51 Church in Wales Schools. You can join in with online services from All Saints Church at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVnxhQ9wF8gM0e_tknogEjA