St Mary’s is proudly associated with ALMA and ACAT. Read on to find out more about these causes.
What is ALMA?
ALMA is the Angola, London and Mozambique Association. It was inaugurated at a ceremony in St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1998 by the Bishops of London, Angola, and Mozambique in order to increase links between individuals, parishes, schools and other institutions in the three Anglican dioceses so that they could help and learn from each other. St Mary-the-Virgin, Kenton, has supported ALMA for many years.
Both Mozambique and Angola were ruled by Portugal until they became independent in the mid ‘70s. Independence was immediately followed by civil war in both countries and, although peace was eventually made, it has taken both countries a long time to recover. Angola has oil but many of its people are still desperately poor and Mozambique (now a member of the commonwealth) is one of the poorest countries in the world. As with Angola, its problems are made worse by natural disasters such as tropical storms and cyclones which have resulted in serious flooding.
In the midst of all these issues, the Anglican church is expanding fast in both Angola and Mozambique. New churches are being set up all the time and this has sometimes led to a need for new dioceses as well. The church frequently performs an important social as well as spiritual role, whether providing water for the surrounding community from a church well, helping women who are HIV positive or educating children who have been orphaned by AIDS.
Thus there is a great need for fellow Anglicans to help both these countries. St Mary’s remembers Angola and Mozambique in prayer and has regularly supported not only the recent London Diocese ALMA Lent Appeals to provide schools, water, transport and other benefits but also special appeals for emergencies, such as disastrous recent floods in Mozambique.
For further information, visit the ALMA website at www.almalink.org. or follow it on Facebook.
What is ACAT?
ACAT stands for Action by Christians Against Torture and St Mary-the-Virgin, Kenton, has been affiliated to the Harrow Group of ACAT for many years.
The Harrow Group belongs to an ecumenical, UK-wide umbrella organisation, called ACAT (UK), which was established in 1984 and aims to campaign for the worldwide abolition of torture. It seeks to educate churches and individual Christians about the evils of torture and to involve them in working for its abolition, both through prayer and through support for individual prisoners all over the world.
Victims of torture may be prisoners of conscience but also, in some countries, torture is used on people who have been accused or convicted of what in UK would probably be regarded as ordinary crimes. ACAT campaigns on their behalf too, convinced that torture is always illegal in international law and is incompatible with God’s mercy and infinite love.
Each Christmas ACAT (UK) runs a greetings card campaign and produces lists of individuals and human rights groups who are victims of persecution.Many of St Mary’s congregation have sent greetings cards to them. The Harrow Group also produces a newsletter and a prayer list about three times a year and holds an annual service and other open meetings to which members of St Mary’s are always warmly invited.
For further information visit ACAT’s website: www.acatuk.org.uk