Over the summer 2016 Digby Stuart College was approached by the chair of the Putney & Roehampton branch of United Nations Association-UK to ask if it might be possible for them to join us for our weekly act of worship. It is a long standing tradition of the branch to visit different places of worship in the borough to mark UN Day each year. The college was delighted to be able to play host and enjoyed meeting with members of the committee in the weeks leading up to the service to plan.
We invited the branch members, about 15 in total, to join us for our normal Sunday evening Mass and social. The Mass readings suited the occasion, reminding us that God listens to those who are marginalised and mistreated and it is for all of us to challenge oppression and to not set ourselves up as better than others. During the service the deputy mayor read out Article 1 of the United Nations Charter to help us reflect on its purpose. (Article 1 of the UN Charter states the purposes of the United Nations which can be summarized as pertaining to international peace and security, development, and human rights).
After the service we gathered in the chaplaincy base to share food and conversation. The chair of the Putney & Roehampton branch, Robert Storey gave a short speech on the work of the UNA-UK and invited students and staff to find out more by joining in their next meeting. A number of students studying human rights at postgraduate level joined us for the occasion and during the social time we all took part in the #StandFor campaign. The campaign is starting a conversation around the simple question, what do you stand for? The answer to this question could be anything, i.e., a value, an idea, a person or an object. To get involved, we wrote what we stood for on cards and posted photos on the chaplaincy Twitter and FaceBook pages with the #StandFor.
The evening was a wonderful chance to introduce students and staff to local opportunities to be involved in the work of the UN and for building links between the group and the college for future support and engagement.
Christine Edwards, rscj
Province of England – Wales