A brilliant Supporters’ Meeting

It was great to see nearly 60 of you coming along to our Supporters’ Meeting last Saturday at St Bede’s Primary School in Basingstoke.

It was certainly a very busy day but we love to see the enthusiasm and the commitment from so many volunteers all across the diocese, which we find really inspiring!

The day opened in prayer with a reflection on food followed by an update on the latest news from our diocese and the upcoming events of this year.

Our wonderful Campaigns Coordinator Maria Elena Arana led a session in which she reminded everybody of the importance of campaigning, and recapped the asks of our current Hungry for Change campaign in which we hope many of you will be willing to get involved in the forthcoming months!  You can download her presentation here.

This was followed by a presentation on the joint IF campaign on food and hunger in which over 100 UK NGOs and agencies, including CAFOD, will be involved this year, to encourage the UK government and world leaders gathering at the G8 in Northern Ireland this June to take action on 4 main issues (aid, tax, land and transparency) to ensure that 2013 can truly be the beginning of the end of global hunger. You can download the IF presentation here and watch the introductory video below:

During a well-deserved break, our fishes and loaves outfits took to the stage and many of you embraced the challenge of trying them on – which was great to see!

Here are some pictures…

The break was followed by an introduction to our Lent Fast Day (Friday 22 February), and the story to Tabita and her mum Rose from Kenya, who feature in the short talk and on the Fast Day envelope. An overview was offered of the many resources that are available to engage the parish with Cafod and our Lenten appeal throughout Lent and beyond. You can download this presentation, together with the opening and closing slides, here.

Before closing the morning part of the meeting, Maria Elena and our colleague Grace Cowley from the Community Fundraising Team gave an introduction to our new “Emmaus Meal” resource,  which provides ideas to organise and participate in a simple meal and reflection event and to encourage others to make a difference to people living in poverty. The resource is FREE and if you were not at the meeting and could not pick up a copy, please contact us at portsmouth@cafod.org.uk and we will send you a booklet in the post.

One of the best parts of the day (for those who were able to stay) was, without any doubt, the shared lunch kindly provided by Maria Elena and Grace, who had cooked special Mexican food + a potato curry with a recipe from our of our partners in Bangladesh! This was certainly very appreciated by all those who took part!

After lunch, Grace and Maria Elena gave a “hands on” demonstration of the Emmaus Meal by leading us in one of the sessions provided in the booklet and giving everyone an opportunity to reflect on the theme of food from the angle of Scripture, Catholic Social Teaching and our partners’ experiences. We hope some of you will be leading Emmaus Meal events in your parishes throughout the year – let us know if you do!

It was a brilliant day and a very special thanks goes to all of you who came along, to our fantastic volunteer Mary Huntley who always so kindly help us with teas and coffees, to all those who helped us tidy up at the end, and of course to Maria Elena and Grace for their great contributions – and the lovely food!

We look forward to hearing from you about “what you will be up to” in your parish this Lent – from a Cafod perspective. A huge thanks to all those of you who have already told us about their plans. Do get in touch in the forthcoming weeks to let us know how your events went, to send us photos and articles for the blog and the local press and to let us know of any other event you might have planned in the meantime!

We’d like to close with the following video from our Community Fundraising team, which brilliantly sums up what you can do to promote Fast Day in less than 5 minutes:

Thanks so much everyone! 🙂 We are already looking forward to our next Supporters’ Meeting in September.

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