AT THE end of 2013, the UN estimated that there were 16.7
million refugees in the world. Last week, a priest in Cornwall
attempted to draw closer to their plight, from inside a tent.
The Curate of Perranzabuloe with Crantock and Cubert, the Revd
Caspar Bush, spent a week in a tent provided by the charity
ShelterBox, outside St Michael's, Perranzabuloe. He was reliant on
donations from parishioners for food, clothing, a sleeping bag, and
toiletries. The idea came to him during a holiday in France this
"It was the time when there were those awful pictures of Yazidis
and Christians being forced from their homes in Iraq; and I just
thought 'What a contrast!'" he said on Tuesday. "I felt quite
convicted that I had to do something to try and identify with those
Parishioners provided six sleeping bags, all of which he used
after Cornwall was hit by bad weather. Among the more unusual
donations were Spam and body butter.
During the week, Mr Bush carried on performing his duties,
including officiating at a wedding. He said that his time in the
tent, during which he was visited by several parishioners in need
of a listening ear, had prompted him to reflect on the availability
"People said: 'It's really good that you are just here, and I
don't feel like you are rushing off to something.' . . . When I get
some parishes of my own, probably I ought to acquire a gazebo and
put up a notice in a public place to say 'Come and talk to a
vicar.' . . . I feel I ought to try and make time for it."
ShelterBox also put up a tent within St Michael's, which Mr Bush
hoped would help people reflect on the experience of Christians who
had opened up their churches to refugees. A vigil was held on every
evening of the week, during which pictures of refugees were
displayed on screen.
Now back at home, Mr Bush said that he felt "very challenged
about whether I might live more simply".
Read Mr Bush's blog here: http://curateinatent.wordpress.com/