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Priest shelters in tent in solidarity with refugees

17 October 2014

diocese of truro

Cornish camper: the Revd Caspar Bush sitting outside his tent

Cornish camper: the Revd Caspar Bush sitting outside his tent

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 summer.

"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 people."

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 of clergy.

"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/

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