Europe: Busy in Portugal

29 June 2012

THEY are having enviable sun­shine in the diocese in Europe, but some of those who live there are also making a difference to people's lives. The youth club at St Vincent's Church of England Chap­laincy, in Praia de Luz, on the Algarve, has been very busy, the Revd Haynes Q. Hubbard writes from Portugal.

They have recently been on a three-day working visit to Lisbon, where they volun­teered at the food bank, which feeds more than 70,000 people. They tidied up the British cemetery ("already pretty tidy"), and cleaned the Church of Scotland church. They attended a multicultural evening in support of migrants from Cape Verde, and joined the worshippers at St George's for their morning service - all this while sleeping on the floor of the Presbyterian manse, kindly offered as their home base.

It proved an exhausting excur­sion, says Mr Hubbard, a Can­adian, but it did not stop them, a week or two later, having a 30-hour fast in order to raise funds and awareness of the many people who are hungry in Portugal.

In the middle of their fast, they went to a supermarket and bought €650-worth of food for the Lagos food bank, and took it to the church, where it was organised and stacked on the shelves. The next day, they satisfied their hunger with a pizza feast, before leading the prayers and much of the worship in church at the Sunday service.

The adults at the service were moved by the sincerity of their prayers in thanksgiving for food, for the health and welfare of families, and for the opportunity to make a difference.

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