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Friday, 31 July 2015

Athens young adult is recognised for her leadership


In the confirmation service there is a very important line in the liturgy when the bishop asks the candidates "will you seek and serve Christ in all people, loving your neighbour as yourself?" One young member of St Peter's, the Anglican congregation in the Northern Athens suburbs, has been recognised for her leadership, which stems from her Christian commitment. Greater Athens Chaplain, Fr Malcolm Bradshaw has written this brief report:
At the end of this academic year Nefeli Stamatelatos received a unique certificate at the Moriatis School in Athens where she is pupil. Last October she was responsible for initiating a programme of voluntary community work for the senior pupils. Her focus was the ‘Church in the Street’ soup kitchen which the Chaplaincy in Athens has helped to provide for over the past six years. The certificate was in recognition of this. Nefeli with other pupils helped with the distribution of the meals. 
Nefeli was confirmed in 2012 after receiving instruction from the parish Reader Christine Saccali. 
Congratulations to Nefeli and thank you for inspiring us.

Reader Christine with Nefeli
Such good news stories are so welcome from Fr Malcolm who continues to seek our prayers and support for Greece's deteriorating economic and social situation. He says that "each day we are faced with something new".

Some of the challenges soon to come, indicated by Fr Malcolm:
  • Possible hunger on Athens streets by September when redundancies, further cuts in pensions, and increases in taxation take effect. 
  • Increasingly dire situations in residential care institutions as funding becomes even tighter. 
  • Imports (and Greece is heavily dependent on imports) becoming alarmingly scarce - everything from office supplies to specialist medicines. 
While such economic difficulties are being faced by the population, the situation is compounded with the great increase of migrants and refugees arriving in the country. Over 31,000 arrived in Greece last June and the flow continues. Bishops on the islands nearest to Turkey report that incidents of violence over food supplies have broken out. The NGO’s on the islands, limited in number, are feeling increasingly overwhelmed. In the very heart of Athens there has recently emerged an encampment of over 700 Afghans – largely families with children.
God of all the world, give us wisdom in troubled economic times. May we never forget the true victims of financial crisis: those who go to bed hungry, those in utter despair. Strengthen all those who seek to bring your comfort and support to those in any need. Lead us all towards a fairer and more just world. And may your Kingdom come. 


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