Lambeth orders AIDS gifts

16 November 2006

by Bill Bowder

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has bought 50 AIDS crosses to give to church leaders when they visit Lambeth Palace, and for his hosts when he visits abroad. The brightly coloured crosses are made in the San Esteban Hostel in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the income helps to support the hostel for those with HIV/ AIDS. They cost £2.50 each, and measure 2.5 inches by 1.5 inches.

Dr Williams placed the order after his staff received six of the crosses for evaluation as suitable gifts. He has also placed an order for a regular monthly supply of the crosses, said Nick Roberts, the acting secretary of the Friends of Uruguay. This week the hostel was gearing up to meet the Archbishop’s request.

A spokesman for Dr Williams said: “The Archbishop is very pleased to be able to do this”.

A group of Friends of Uruguay visited Argentina and Uruguay last week on a ten-day visit to collect the crosses from San Esteban. Among them were John and Sheila Harrison, whose daughter, Cathy, had spent six months in the diocese in 1993. Cathy had suffered from ill-health for some time, but died suddenly last year, aged 39.

During their visit, her parents are due to present the bishop of the diocese, the Rt Revd Miguel Tamayo, with a “substantial” cheque in excess of £13,000 (the exact amount is not yet known). The money was donated from Cathy’s estate, and had been increased by gifts in lieu of flowers at her funeral, and by £700 collected at a Christmas-tree festival in her Leicestershire village, Queniborough.

The Revd Charles Bradshaw, Vicar of Woldingham and an ex-secretary of the Friends of Uruguay, is leading the group. He had originally suggested to Cathy that she visit Uruguay to work through the church with young people in Salto. She had “fallen in love with the place”, he said on Monday.

When she returned, Cathy had taken up work as an educational welfare officer, as well as becoming treasurer of the Friends until her death in May last year.

Bishop Tamayo said in the diocesan newsletter that the church had prayed “many times” for her health. She had been “overflowing with love and interest in us and our mission”.

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