Despite the predicted wet weather warnings the sun shone for Kensington Friends of the Holy Land’s Annual Midsummer Garden Party held recently in the forecourt of Our Lady of Victories Church in High Street Kensington.
Mgr James Curry, Parish Priest and Chairman of FHL Kensington, thanked the guests for their presence and support at the garden party, which raised £4,820. ‘Fundraising events such as these’, he said, ‘are an essential part of our work, which is to support one of the oldest communities in the Holy Land, the Christians of Palestine and Israel. Circumstances have not been kind to this community. The FHL funds projects that seek to help the young and elderly and those who strive to keep their fragile yet vibrant communities alive. The Holy Land is a rich mosaic of peoples, without the Christians something would be missing.’
Sir Vincent Fean, ex Consul-General to Jerusalem gave a short speech at the event in which he asked, ‘Consider the future for young Palestinian Christians, and the choices facing their parents. Today, and tomorrow, prospects in Palestine for young people are uncertain and precarious. Parents naturally want their children to have as good a chance in life as they themselves had, or better. What would you do in their place? Christians are leaving the Holy Land at an alarming rate. For young people to stay, the prospects in Palestine need to be as good as those in Chile, or Canada, or California – places they can reach with relative ease, because the Palestinian diaspora is already there, so your cousin can find you a job. And so they leave.’
Sir Vincent emphasised the strictly non-political stance of the charity and commended FHL for its work of striving to make it easier for Palestinian Christians, the Living Stones of Christianity in the Holy Land, to stay in the land of their birth. He urged people to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to ‘test what I have said against your own eye witness experience’.
RBKC Mayor Councillor Elizabeth Rutherford was the event’s special guest and a schoolgirl string quartet from Putney High School played for the 140 guests in the ‘especially created for the day’ garden.
The Diocesan Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols takes place from 4 to 12 November 2016.