Showing posts from May, 2015

Fundraising to set women free from prostitution in Kolkata

Freeset is a fair trade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata's sex trade. Currently they make quality jute bags and organic cotton T-shirts, but their real business is freedom!  They dream of seeing the 10,000 sex workers in their neighbourhood having the choice to leave a profession few of them ever chose to enter.

Right now they have the opportunity to come a step closer to that dream.  A large building at the entrance to the red light district where they work has come on the market.  If they could buy this building it could house more businesses giving opportunities for women to leave the sex trade along with social services to support them in this transition.

Right now they are fundraising to buy this building: it costs around NZ$3 million and is due to be sold at the end of June 2015.  After the sale they will need an additional NZ$900,000 to renovate it and establish the social services in the building.  They expect the businesses in it to be self-suppo…

Onion skin dyeing

I first come across the idea of dyeing fabric with onion skins in one of my childhood favourite books, The Endless Steppe: an account of the Siberian exile of the author and her parents during WWII.  One way in which they made their hut there more cheerful was to dye their kitchen curtains with onion skins.  Earlier this year I decided to have a go myself, following these excellent instructions.

'10 years' house party

This month it's 10 years since we moved into our current house.  To celebrate, last Saturday we invited all the people we've got know in the street to come over for afternoon tea.  I was surprised to realise we knew well over 20 people.  In the end 15 were able to come.  People seemed to mix pretty well and a lot of people met people they didn't already know.

It was a lovely day - I got a bit teary later, thinking about all the people who mean a lot to me who I wouldn't know if we hadn't come to live here!

Glimpses of the Suffering Church

I believe firmly that the global Church is one family.  This weekend, I was reminded that the lives of some of those brothers and sisters are very different to our own.

Firstly, I was reading about the massacre of (mostly) Christian students at Garissa University in Kenya last month.  When I was at university, I was part of the local Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship group, EU.  TSCF is part of a global organisation called IFES and so has sister groups all around the world, including Kenya.  Amongst the first to be killed were students attending a prayer meeting of that group, FOCUS.  They lost five members of their executive council that day.  Reflecting on the situation one of their staff workers, Lucas Owako, wrote:
The only consolation is that because many of these students knew and loved Jesus, they rest tonight from their hard labour in our cruel world. It made me think: we are one family, but we don't have one life experience.  Christians in New Zealand rarely speak o…

Meeting some of my people

Since Christmas I've been making my way through all the back issues of Manna Gum's quarterly(ish) magazine, Manna Matters.  The other day I was delighted to find this article from December 2012.  In reflecting on the state of the Church and its need for renewal, Jonathan Cornford writes:Surely, any movement of authentic Christian renewal has to be centred on a rediscovery of Jesus and his message, and the expression of that discovery in people’s lives. I am convinced that one element of this – but by no means sufficient – must be the reclaiming of the Biblical story’s distinctive perspective on our material lives. In a time when the bad news confronting humanity centres on the structure and content of our material lives, the good news of Jesus will only fully become good news when it also finds expression in our material lives. He then goes on to talk about "seven dimensions of an alternative economic life that would express God’s counter-cultural good news in 21st…