Thank You, Jo

Jo (R) with our wonderful volunteers and Fr Augusto at the 2017 J&P Assembly

Jo (R) with our wonderful volunteers and Fr Augusto at the 2017 J&P Assembly

Sadly Jo Lewry has come to the end of her two years with us here in CAFOD Arundel and Brighton but thankfully Jo is staying with CAFOD as she is taking over our work in the Portsmouth Diocese.

Jo joined CAFOD a little under two years ago bringing with her a huge wealth of experience from teaching in primary schools. Jo, along with her husband Julian, had also been our parish volunteer in Godalming for many years too.

Jo was happy to take on the parishes in Surrey as her special focus and has led many a Fast Day briefing, Understanding CAFOD session and has spoken at various Masses in her time with us. Many parishes have gone from having no volunteer to having a small team of volunteers, for which we have Jo to thank.

I would like to thank Jo for her enthusiasm, her un-tiring determination, her professionalism and her company these past few years and I’m delighted that Jo will remain part of our team.

Lynda (R) with Laura (L) from CAFOD Portsmouth campaigning

Lynda (R) with Laura (L) from CAFOD Portsmouth campaigning

At the same time we’re sorry that Lynda Mussell, our colleague in Portsmouth diocese, will be heading to new pastures. Lynda has been with CAFOD for over a decade and has poured so much of herself into the diocese and given so much in the fight against poverty. Our best wishes go to Lynda and also to Jo who takes over in Portsmouth Diocese.

By Martin, CAFOD Arundel and Brighton

30 years of baking by a Woking parishioner raises over £35,000 for CAFOD

Elizabeth Wallace, a parishioner from St. Dunstan’s, Woking, has baked cakes for CAFOD every month for over 30 years, raising an estimated £35,000 – an incredible sum!

Elizabeth’s baking odyssey began back in 1986.  Her mother had died two years previously and the terrible Ethiopian famine of 1984 was still fresh in her mind.  One of Elizabeth’s friend’s suggested that she did something to help both her recover from the loss of her mother, and those in need overseas.  “I can cook and I like to bake, so that’s how it all began!”

Elizabeth set up a cake stall after mass once a month, at the parish of Our Lady of Christ, Kingfield, which she and her husband of 45 years, Kevin, were members of.  As well as selling cakes contributed by parishioners, they held sponge competitions and Elizabeth stayed motivated by the enthusiasm of other parishioners.

Elizabeth Wallace at St. Dunstan's

Elizabeth said:

“The Bake Off hadn’t even started then – Mary Berry eat your heart out!  One of the reasons I kept going was that it made other people join in, and there have been some amazing examples of generosity.  There was one lady who died a couple of years ago who donated £20 every month!”

When they moved to St. Dunstan’s, Woking, Elizabeth kept on baking; her commitment to standing in solidarity with those in the developing world has never failed.

“You don’t stop,” Elizabeth said.  “The world is still in need and we can’t just be reactive to big crises, we have to take the initiative too.  And you can’t just walk away, because you feel you’re betraying the people you’re supporting.  These aren’t just people on pieces of paper, these are people who you’re praying for.”

After almost thirty years as the organiser of the CAFOD cake stall, Mary handed over the running to two other St Dunstan’s parishioners, Ruth Whiddett and Lin Mason, in 2014.  Elizabeth described the choice to stand down as a hard decision to make, but one which felt right.  Inspired by her American mother’s recipes, Elizabeth still bakes delights such as cookies every month for the stall, adding to the mounds of freshly baked bread, homegrown fruit and delicious homemade cakes.

“The girls took over and run the stall with their children and it’s going really well.  It’s gone from strength to strength and they make wonderful cupcakes!  It’s very popular and we regularly run out of what we’re selling!”

Elizabeth, Ruth, Agata and Lin

Elizabeth, Ruth, Agata and Lin

Elizabeth has now been baking cakes every month for CAFOD for 31 years.  Since its inception in 1986 it has raised an estimated £35,000 – a phenomenal sum.

Elizabeth is modest about the amount that she and the others who helped at the stall have made.  “We’re just normal people and that’s our strength,” she said.

The money raised by Elizabeth and all those involved in the stall helps those living in extreme poverty to reach their full potential, regardless of religion or culture, by equipping them with the skills and opportunities to live with dignity, support their families and give something back to their communities.

Here in CAFOD’s Arundel & Brighton office, we’re inspired by Elizabeth’s dedication to CAFOD.  Her commitment to helping those in need is remarkable, especially as it so much more than skin deep – she truly cares about the people she is helping as individuals, not just statistics.  We are so thankful to her and all those who have been involved in the cake stall over the years, including the new organisers Ruth, Lin and Agata.  Thanks, Elizabeth!

Journey to Justice a CAFOD retreat on Romero

Blessed Oscar Romero

Please come to our CAFOD retreat on Saturday 2nd December at St Cuthman’s Retreat Centre, Cowfold road, Shipley, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 8QL from 10am to 4pm . Listening to the poor, reflecting on the scriptures and engaging with political realities transformed Oscar Romero into one of the Church’s most respected and inspirational figures. His legacy of radical love lives on 100 years after his birth.

At this CAFOD retreat you are invited to explore how Romero’s life and faith can inspire and challenge us and transform our world. Take time to reflect on your own journey of transformation, and be inspired and enriched by stories of those who continue to speak out for justice today.

Please book your place here   or email or call 01483 898866