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Looking Back

Friday October 30

Looking Back: Refugees Plea

A plea from October 1955 for help with displaced people.


 THE COST OF REVOLUTIONARY SOCIAL CHANGE

THE REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITY

This is what one congregation did to help its neighbours in the hour of their urgent need.

JUST over a year ago I read in The Glasgow Herald a letter appealing for help for displaced persons. I thought that here was a Christian task that our children could undertake.

The enthusiasm of our Sunday school was wonderful. Week by week they brought gifts of clothing, and many came with an extra offering for this great cause. Towards Christmas we enlisted the help of the Kirk Session, with whose blessing we sent to every home in the congregation a printed appeal for gifts of clothing and money. The response was amazing. More than half-a-ton of clothing (most of it in excellent condition) was received, together with more than enough money to pay the freight to the Refugee Camp at Augustdorf in Germany.

Since that time gifts of clothing have continued to reach us, not alone from our own church but also from members of other churches in the district. We have also been collecting 300,000 used stamps, British and foreign, which the refugees sort and send to collectors.

Who are these refugees and what is their condition? They come from various European countries, Poland, the Ukraine, Latvia, etc., most of them the victims of war or political oppression. To conceive of or to tell of their plight is almost impossible. Many are suffering from incurable diseases and are broken in mind and spirit as well as in body; many have lost their loved ones – children their parents, husbands their wives, and the aged those who would normally sustain them. For these people much has been done at Augustdorf and similar camps throughout Germany; and many letters from the organiser of the Augustdorf Camp make it abundantly clear how much has been achieved as a result of the help that has come from Britain.

It is imperative that the Christian world should be concerned about the plight of these helpless people. So at this time, when Church organisations are about to recommence their winter activities, I would most earnestly appeal to Sunday Schools, Bible Classes, Youth Fellowships, Men’s Guilds and Woman’s Guilds to consider whether they could not render assistance in this cause. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all my mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

WILLIAM B. BURNETT

Session Clerk, West Kirk of Greenock


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