We can't let ourselves be distant from the vulnerability of others

Bishop Ed Condry is praying for peace and reconciliation in war-affected communities(Photo: Elizabeth Perry/Christian Aid)

Where will your faith take you?  All kinds of places for most people and for the Bishop of Ramsbury, to a shepherd's hut on the Wiltshire Downs in solidarity with victims of conflict. 

Bishop Ed Condry spent Tuesday night in the hut with just a few basic items, having walked there by foot from his home in Warminster.

"It was appropriate in many ways that I spent the night in a shepherd's hut. Bishops are called to be shepherds, serving and caring for the flock of God's people and hearing Sarjon's tales underlined my duty to do just that," he said.

"High up on the Downs I was reminded of our vulnerability and the need for us to stand by our fellow men and women."

The hut was located in a remote spot south of Kingston Deverill and the night was spent in prayer and reflection before a special morning service at the nearby St Michael's Church. 

The night's stay was in partnership with Christian Aid and follows a meeting in March with Sarjon Toma, of Christian Aid partner organisation REACH, which works on peacebuilding in northern Iraq.  

Bishop Condry has been inspired since the meeting to raise awareness of the reality of conflict, and the poverty and fear it brings to people's lives.

The hut was situated in a remote part of the Wiltshire Downs

During the meeting, he heard of the suffering of Toma's community as a result of chemical warfare, bombings, siege and violence.

The bishop said: "Despite this backdrop Sarjon was inspired from an early age to care for others in need and he and his organisation is living out that vision in challenging circumstances. The challenge to us here in the UK is to not feel it is too distant from that vulnerability of others and to make a difference. We can, and indeed I feel we must."

He expressed his hope for peace and reconciliation in communities experiencing war and conflict, and support for the people living in them "so that they are no longer powerless but have the tools to look to the future with hope".

With Christian Aid Week just around the corner, Bishop Condry is encouraging people to get involved and walk alongside war-affected communities.

For more information on Christian Aid Week visit www.caweek.org

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