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Could you Wait without Hope this Advent?

Whirlow Spirituality Centre in Sheffield invites visitors to sit with intractable issues this Advent at a challenging exhibition.

From December 1–20, installations from Christian Aid, City of Sanctuary, Grace Foodbank and Nightstop will adorn the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. All these organisations work in contexts that demand an ability to remain with difficult situations, as much as believing they will end.

Centre Events Co-ordinator Anna Potts said: “We encourage people to sit with God or, if they prefer, alone before these issues. We want to emphasise the existence of the Divine in the midst of struggle and waiting, as opposed to its being found in a distant realm free from those things.

“We are also hosting Wait Without Hope to gather awareness and support for these and other wonderful organizations.”

Christian Aid is a partnership of people, churches and local organisations committed to ending poverty worldwide. Its exhibit will focus on displaced people.

Regional Co-ordinator Tom Wyke said: “Currently, of the more than 65 million people displaced around the world due to conflict and violence, as well as climate-related events and disasters, 40.5 million of these remain in their countries of origin. It would take more than a year to read all their names.

“Many exist without access to basic services such as health and education, and are often subjected to abuse, torture and harassment, being displaced on average for 15 years. Christian Aid stands in solidarity with internally displaced people and we call on others to do the same.”

City of Sanctuary is a movement building a culture of welcome and hospitality for refugees and asylum-seekers.

Sheffield Co-ordinator Sarah Eldridge said: “Asylum-seekers often wait a long time for a decision on their asylum claim, during which they're not allowed to work and have about £5 a day to live on.
 
“Those whose application is turned down may not be able to return home because it is too dangerous. Life remains tough even for those who are granted refugee status.”

The team at Grace Foodbank awaits Christmas with trepidation, following the local rollout of full-service Universal Credit on November 7. Foodbank use has increased by 52% in other areas where it has been rolled out.

Nightstop provides a bed for the night for young people who need it, in a moment of crisis. Representative Hanna Benson said:  "Most of the young people use Nightstop because the relationship with their parents or carers has broken down.

“Our hosts offer them somewhere safe, warm and dry to spend a few nights, while we help them to make decisions about the future.

“The amazing households who volunteer with us offer a real lifeline for young people with nowhere else to go."

Wait Without Hope will also offer practical suggestions for supporting these organisations. It is open to view on:

December 4, 11.30am - 2pm
December 7, 11.30am - 1.30pm
December 11, 11.30am - 2pm
December 12, 11.30am - 2pm
December 13, 11.30am - 2pm
December 14, 11.30am - 1.30pm
December 19, 11.30am - 2pm.

Alternatively, visitors can attend one of the Centre’s services during the December 1–20 period or book onto an event it is holding at that time. Find more information at whirlowspiritualitycentre.org

PHOTO: (Christian Aid) Falmata Bulama and her children Yagana and Bakuva, who fled the terror of Boko Haram in Nigeria

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