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Clerics unite for sit-out inspired by refugees fleeing war in Syria

By Donna Deeney

Published 24/11/2015

Rev Lindsay Blair (left) and Rev Paul Hoey. Lindsay is minister of Eglinton Presbyterian Church and Paul is the Rector of Faughanvale Parish (Church of Ireland)
Rev Lindsay Blair (left) and Rev Paul Hoey. Lindsay is minister of Eglinton Presbyterian Church and Paul is the Rector of Faughanvale Parish (Church of Ireland)

Three churchmen in Eglinton village have joined forces for a sit-out in a lorry container this weekend, to aid refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Catholic clerics from Faughanvale will stage the round the clock sit-out to raise awareness and funds for Trocaire and The Tear Fund.

Rev Paul Hoey said he was inspired to come up with the idea after listening to a broadcast interview of how whole families of refugees were living in large containers after fleeing from Syria.

Although he had the idea before the massacre in Paris took place, he said it is even more pertinent than ever that people do what they can to help the refugees.

He said: “An interview I heard left me wondering what it must be like to be a refugee family living in a container, so I came up with the idea of actually finding out, albeit for a weekend.

“We hope to raise some money but, while that is important, it is in a way secondary to raising awareness of the plight facing refugees.

“There has been a shift in attitude by some people since the massacre in Paris but we must remember that the people in Syria are fleeing the same people who carried out that massacre and still need our help.

“I spoke to Rev Lindsay Blair and Fr Noel McDermott about it and they both agreed immediately to join me, and one of my parishioners who owns a haulage company is lending us the container.

“We will all go into the container at 4pm on Friday but we will take it in turns to be there throughout the weekend.

“It will be continuous except for a few hours on Sunday to allow us to take our church services, but we will come together again from 1pm until 5pm when there will be a candlelight procession from the container to my church, St Canice’s, for a short joint prayer service.”

The lorry container will be parked over the weekend at the Credit Union on Main Street, Eglinton, where the three clergymen hope members of the local community will visit them to learn more about the plight of refugees and hopefully to make donations to Trocaire and Tear Fund.

The two charities are working with refugees from Syria who have fled to other parts of the Middle East.

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