UK churches ring their bells to mark St. Bakhita's Day

23rd January 2024 | From our team

The Clewer Initiative

The 8th February 2024 marks the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita and the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.

This year, to mark the tenth anniversary of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Talitha Kum, an international network of religious sisters, will be hosting an online livestream, showcasing the work of sisters around the world in responding to human trafficking. The theme of the Day of Prayer is "Journeying in Dignity: Listen, Dream, Act."

The work of Talitha Kum links closely to our own legacy of religious sisters, the Clewer Sisters, who have devoted themselves to ending exploitation.

Bells ring out

To help mark the day, The Clewer Initiative has asked churches from across the Church of England to ring their bells. Bell-ringing is used to draw people’s attention to special days and events and this provides a powerful way of standing in solidarity with victims. It invites people to stop and listen to the voice of the most vulnerable in their communities. Churches from the Diocese of Exeter, Oxford and London have already sent in footage that we have compiled into a film for the livestream. These include contributions from St Paul's Cathedral and St Andrew's church in the Clewer Parish of Windsor, the parish where the Clewer Sisters come from.

We are grateful to have worked with our Project Lead, Rev Edwina Fennemore from the Diocese of Exeter to plan the video. She explains the vision behind the bell ringing campaign: "The theme of the day of prayer is "Listen, Dream, Act" and the bell ringing incorporate these ideas. The bells ring out for everyone to listen and be aware of the multi-types of exploitation going on all around us. Dreaming and hopefulness lead to action and the goal of lives restored and individuals regaining autonomy."

Churches from across the Church of England ring their bells to mark St. Bakhita's Day

The video will be broadcast as part of the livestream on 8th February and can be watched here:

You can also join in by sharing posts on social media in support of the day with the hashtag #PrayAgainstTrafficking

We hope you are able to watch the livestream and continue to raise awareness of the issue of modern slavery with your churches and communities.

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