TWO vicars and their family are living as “refugees” to draw attention to the plight of people in Gaza.
Rev Andrew Ashdown, the Anglican rector of Knights Enham, and his wife, the Rev Victoria Ashdown, curate of Whitchurch, are relying on the generosity of others while they and their family live without money in St Paul’s Church and Community Centre in Smannell Road, Andover.
They are spending each night on the floor in one of the community rooms.
Prayers are said in the morning and evening, and each evening a film or documentary is being shown about the situation in the Holy Land.
The money they would normally spend on food is being donated to the charity Embrace the Middle East’s Gaza appeal.
Last year, Andrew, a trustee of the charity visited Christian-run clinics and community centres in Gaza.
“Even when Gaza is not under attack, the situation is desperate,” he said. “The area is little more than a densely packed prison populated mostly with refugees whose homes and lands were taken by the State of Israel in 1948.
“The siege of Gaza that has been going on for years means that the most basic supplies are limited, and it is heart-breaking to visit the hospitals and clinics that struggle to provide care for over two million people.”
Victoria added: “I feel it is our duty as a church to speak for the oppressed and against injustice. Standing in solidarity with the suffering felt like something we could do here to highlight the plight.”