A CLERGY family have spent this week living as refugees in a
church centre, in solidarity with the plight of civilians in
The Team Rector of Knight's Enham, Andover, the Revd Andrew
Ashdown, and his wife, the Revd Victoria Ashdown, who is
non-stipendiary Assistant Curate of All Hallows', Whitchurch, have
moved into the St Paul's Community Centre, Andover, with their two
teenaged children. They are living off handouts from members of the
public and their congregation.
They will send the money they have saved from their food bill,
with any other donations, to the Gaza Appeal of the charity Embrace
the Middle East, of which Mr Ashdown is a trustee.
The Ashdowns moved into the community centre last Sunday, and
were planning to stay there for a week. Mr Ashdown said: "Like so
many people, we were wondering what on earth we could do in
response to the conflict." He described the response as
"phenomenal. We've had messages from all over the world, and we
have not gone hungry once.
"We know we can't make a huge difference, but it is about being
in solidarity with the people of Gaza, and supporting them in
The couple and their children, aged 19 and 16, are holding
morning and evening prayer each day, and have been joined by a
Baptist group and a house group. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt
Revd Tim Dakin, has sent a message of support.
Mr Ashdown visited Christian-run clinics and community centres
in Gaza last year. He said: "Even when Gaza is not under attack,
the situation is desperate."
The family have set up a Facebook page - "In solidarity with
Gaza" - to encourage support and donations.