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Blessed are the Peacemakers: A call for prayer for the Stansted 15

Politics / Wed 12th Dec 2018 at 12:04pm

Blessed are the Peacemakers: A call for Prayer for the Stansted 15

FORMER Bush Fair Councillor Ian Beckett is urging Harlow’s community to support the call from the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, to Pray for the Stansted 15.

On Monday,15 protesters were found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court of ‘endangering an airport’ – a terrorism related charge with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Bishop Stephen attended several of the sessions in court and got to know some of the defendants, who know they committed a crime and know there must be consequences. But, Bishop Stephen argues, the specific charges brought against them are outrageously disproportionate. By peacefully preventing a flight from taking off, their actions have drawn attention to a much greater injustice. In fact, the Stansted 15 did nothing that was likely to put anyone in danger. They were acting to prevent harm. They had real reason to believe that people on the flight were at risk of danger and death if they had been deported to Nigeria and Ghana. Some of those on the flight are still waiting for their appeals to be heard.

Chelmsford Crown Court is a stone’s throw away from Chelmsford Cathedral. A number of the defendants frequently sought the sanctuary of the Cathedral between sessions. Last week there was a moving vigil of prayer. Christians in Essex have been praying for the Stansted 15 and hoping that their actions can be seen for what they were: a peaceful protest seeking to help people trapped in an extreme situation, not an act of violence that would endanger the airport or its staff.

Deportation charter flights are a brutal way of forcing people out of the UK: Mothers, fathers, siblings and neighbours; people who are part of our communities, are being snatched away and forced onto charter flights in the middle of the night. Many of these people have lived in our communities for decades and have no current connections with the places to which they are being deported; including areas where the rule of law is, to say the least, fragile.

Mr Beckett, who is on the PCC at Stephen’s Church and active within Heart 4 Harlow said “I agree completely with Bishop Stephen when he points out that ‘peace makers are often initially perceived as trouble makers.’ Sometimes actions have to speak louder than words in order for people to recognise injustice – even when it is staring them in the face.”

Bishop Stephen has said “I am grateful that the Stansted 15 have reminded us of our most fundamental commitments to speak and act for those without a voice. Yes, it may have looked like they were making trouble. They weren’t. They were making peace. As they await sentencing, they intend to appeal their convictions. I earnestly look forward to the day of their speedy exoneration. Please join me in praying for them.”

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2 Comments for Blessed are the Peacemakers: A call for prayer for the Stansted 15:

MickyB77
2018-12-13 11:11:34

Just imagine if anyone who held a grudge, or disagreed with policy, behaved in a like fashion, the uproar and mayhem that would ensue wouldn't bear thinking about. This crowd deserve whatever they get.

MickyB77
2018-12-18 07:10:04

Just read on another site, that some of the Sheffield tree protectors and, the so called Amnesty group, at the Titan deportation, are no more than professional agitators, all of whom appear a little work shy, but always ready to be first in the queue for hand-outs from the tax-payers. One of the group is already whingeing about perhaps going to prison. Also, if the deportation of the illegals was being done,"in secret", where did they, The Titan 15, get their information from ?

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