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Sr Darryll Candy

A photo taken in 2003 – how time passes. I moved from Galway not long afterwards and came to Coppice Road in Birmingham before going to Chicago for 9 months for a very precious time of sabbatical focussing on personal transformation for mission and practical training in spiritual accompaniment. I found the course stretching. Lake Michigan captivated me; I was lucky to live only five minutes away from it.

Since my return to Coppice Road the composition of the community has changed – Margaret Harlock is now in Yaoundé and Africa has come to us. For almost a year two Africans have occupied the top floor of our house - Agnes from Sudan and Beauty from Zimbabwe. They fend for themselves but both come to our daily evening prayer when they are in. It is very simple – often the gospel of the day and some music followed by silence and sharing and a final prayer together. At the moment we have the Advent wreath and other decoration that Bernie has prepared for use with the classes of the neighbouring primary school who come to prepare for Christmas with her.

The two issues which take up most of my time are RESTORE and COPCA. The former is a project of Birmingham Churches Together, begun in 1999 to befriend asylum seekers and COPCA is the Catholic Church’s response to the need to protect children and vulnerable adults.

In RESTORE I do the books and also befriend a Cameroonian asylum seeker. She has been in England more than 2 years but is still awaiting a definitive response to her appeal which was granted and then appealed against by the Home Office. The latter is not moving rapidly in any area at present. One thing I can say the NHS has done her proud and I am thankful for that. The UK is treating asylum seekers so badly at present – many are destitute. Their application to stay in Britain may be refused while the Home Office admits they cannot return to their own countries. At this point all accommodation and benefits – such as they are – are stopped. I am not sure I am in too much of a hurry to get my friend’s decision. However she has a 9 year old son in Cameroon and it is hard for them to be separated.

OXFAM – the British CCFD – has a shop in Moseley and I help there one morning a week. I keep an eye on the Fairtrade food which is sold and also bank the takings for the previous couple of days, as well as being on the till at times.

In Bourneville there is a Quaker Meeting House which has just celebrated its centenary, to which I was invited. Why I mention the meeting house is because I go to meetings sometimes and am about to be involved in reading The Friend, a weekly Quaker publication, so that blind Quakers can ‘read’ it. We are 10 teams doing this so it will not come round too often

There is quite a to-do in Britain at the moment over Christmas; the secularists trying to replace the word with another areligious one. However may the Peace and Joy of Christmas be with us all throughout 2007!

Sr. Darryll Candy

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