Lent: A new journey begins

The darkest day is followed by a new dawn.

Consider… The Stations of the Cross

Jesus’ unexpected resurrection brings hope to sufferers around the world.

Stations of the cross in blue 13
Stations of the cross in blue 14
Stations of the cross in blue 15

Despite enduring unspeakable suffering, many victims of modern slavery find ways to journey forward. We can join them in this journey as friends and supporters.

Watch Finding Restoration

Film questions

- What struck you about Jing’s story?

- Read John 11:1-45 (the Gospel reading for next Sunday)

- what journey do Mary and Martha go on to arrive at the tomb where they are in the right place to experience the miracle of new life?

- How do you see this same process happening in Jing’s story?

- How did Martha open the tomb she felt trapped in and fill her soul with new life?

Consider… The Contemporary Stations of the Cross

How do these contemporary images convey the experience of victims post rescue – living in the shadow of the tomb and the light of the future?

Contemporary 13
Contemporary 14
Contemporary 15

Living Lord, we praise you for your gift of resurrection from the dead. We ask that this miracle of new life and richer walking together may be better shared amongst ourselves, and with all who long to be raised into the image you desire to bless. Guide us as we commit ourselves anew to the service of all who suffer, and especially those still being abused and exploited in our midst. Hear us Lord, we pray.


Next steps on your journey – supporting victims

There are a number of ways you can support victims in your community.

  • Get in touch with local charities and organisations to see if they need volunteers
  • Consider how you could use art to raise awareness or support victims in their recovery? Are there any local charities running therapeutic art projects?
  • Start praying regularly for the vulnerable people in your community and asking God to prompt you to action.

The top thing I would recommend is to look in your local community and find a charity that supports survivors of slavery or look to your local authority who will typically have a modern slavery lead.

Rebecca Helme

Fiona’s journey

Fiona grew up in Scotland and worked for 20 years as a lawyer before embarking on a dramatic change of direction. Her voluntary work with destitute asylum seekers in Bradford helped her to understand that her focus should be on people who are marginalised.

In conversation with the Church of Scotland, she learned of its support for the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI). She was amazed to discover that the organisation was looking for a native English speaker with advocacy skills, ideally with some Italian and keen to work alongside migrants and refugees. It seemed like a divine match.

Fiona has been seconded to FCEI by the Church of Scotland since 2018. FCEI's refugee and migrant programme, Mediterranean Hope, has teams based in Lampedusa, Sicily, Calabria, Bosnia and Beirut, as well as Rome, where Fiona works. She supports her colleagues through her engagement with external institutions and policymakers, by helping to develop good practice, in particular, in relation to legal pathways such as the humanitarian corridors which FCEI pioneered in Italy, and through awareness-raising initiatives.

Fiona has seen first-hand the power and potential of therapeutic art in community projects amongst refugees and migrant workers in southern Italy. She explains:

“The therapeutic art project, which we've run with help from The Clewer Initiative, involved people who had had different experiences of exploitation. It enabled them to detach from and start to process the trauma they’ve been through by reconnecting with a sense of self and fun. It was incredible to watch people who perhaps hadn't held a pen or paintbrush for a long time suddenly be afforded the opportunity and the time simply to play.

“We don't have all the answers, and nor should we imagine that we do. It is a process that requires specialist help and we have to be very careful when we're attempting to assist people who've been through such trauma. However, it has been a privilege to watch people open up and share something of their stories.”

The process of recovering from an experience of modern slavery or exploitation is long and requires specialist assistance. But there are things that we, as communities, can do to help that process of recovery.

Fiona Kendall
Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI)


Lent Devotional Week 5

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