The Hunger Lunch organised by the Mothers’ Union has become a significant event in the observation of Lent at St. Margaret’s. As a result, its members are able to send a positive contribution to the work of the Mothers’ Union overseas.

Christians are suffering enormous persecution in all parts of the Middle East, nowhere more so than in Iraq. Christianity in Baghdad is centred on St. George’s Church and its Chaplain Andrew White, and it was in 2006 that Nawal George founded a branch of the Mothers’ Union at the church. Her initial membership of 60 has grown to over 2000 and an extraordinary prayer ministry has been built up within the church, visiting displaced Christians to bring hope to them and providing weekly food to hundreds of local families. The Mothers’ Union meets each Saturday with between 175 and 200 women at their service.

Further north in Iraq in Kurdistan the situation is even more difficult. The area around Mosul – once the city of Nineveh – is a war zone and the Mothers’ Union Relief Fund is contributing to the co-ordinated efforts of the Kurdish churches to bring safety and refuge to displaced families. The work of the Fund has made a huge difference to the population, enabling them to have shelter, fresh water, food and clothing, and medicine.

The need to help these displaced communities rebuild their lives remains: they need housing, schooling and of course employment. Rather than simply continuing to provide relief, therefore, the Mothers’ Union will continue to work throughout Iraq to contribute to the rebuilding of Christian communities. May we remember them in our prayers.

John Baggaley