Falcons

Our spire has been the home for peregrin falcons for many years now. They have featured on BBC Springwatch and can be seen through the nest webcam.

The St John’s Church peregrines are wild birds and the Hawk and Owl Trust Trust monitors their progress and well being.

26/12/15 An early scrape

29/05/15 Normality returns

18/05/15 Falcons standing guard

05/05/15 Raining, blowing, brooding and feeding

03/04/15 Four new eggs at Easter

29/03/15 Raining, blowing, brooding and feeding

21/06/13 Falcon news update

15/06/13 Falcon news update

10/05/13 New falcon chicks

14/06/16 Food fights, networking and sleepovers

11/12/16 Unseasonal Exchange

02/01/17 Falcon checking the nest box

 

Falcon webcam

Live Bath St John’s Church Peregrine webcam

The Hawk and Owl Trust has a single feed running from the St John’s church spire nest box.

Please Note | There is no audio and no 'Stills’ feed.

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This video is streamed live by iCatcher software. With thanks to generous support from iCode Systems www.icode.co.uk/icatcher.

Please Note | The video auto-refreshes after 180 seconds – to prevent excessive bandwidth usage.

 

Non Intervention Policy Statement
The St John’s Church peregrines are wild birds and it is the Hawk and Owl Trust’s policy that we will not intervene with chicks or adults whilst they are on the platform. Wild peregrines lay an average of 4 eggs but on occasion not all of the chicks survive. Factors such as adverse weather, sickness, inexperienced parents and lack of food can all lead to one or more of the chicks failing to survive. The chicks will have leg rings put on by a ringer with a licence to visit the platform to ring the chicks before they fledge. Peregrines are protected from disturbance by law whilst nesting.

The Peace Process in Colombia

The Peace Process in Colombia, the Utopia is Now Being Realised
A CAFOD Talk by Jeny Pantoja, Teacher & Post-Graduate Student

Friday, February 17th, 2017 - Jeny Pantoja, a parishioner, is a teacher from Colombia and a post-graduate student from Bath Spa University. She gave an informative presentation using slides and video clips on the peace process in Colombia, South America at a meeting convened by CAFOD volunteers at St John the Evangelist.

Starting with a quiz, Jeny gave a brief introduction to Colombia – geographical location, climate, history, people and origins. The government of Colombia has fought an on- going civil war on three fronts with finance by the cultivation of coca and export of cocaine:

  • With FARC - the militant communists and peasant self-defence groups, its largest and oldest revolutionary guerrilla group began some 52 years ago.
  • With the EN (National Liberation Army) - the more ideological Marxist leftwing National Liberation Army who say they are opposed to US influence in Colombia, multi-national corporations, the privatisation of resources, and rightist violence. They claim to protect the rights of the poor.
  • With AUC – an umbrella for right-wing paramilitary military groups defending the interests of large landowners, drug traffickers and the economic elites against FARC and EN.

Several attempts at bringing these guerilla movements to the table had been made since 1988, but it was only on December 17th 2016 in a peace deal brokered by Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador that an indefinite ceasefire with FARC was signed by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia with FARC militants. To do so, the citizens of Colombia in both the rural and urban areas had first to lay the foundation for peace. In schools this was done through education.

 
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Jeny showed a video-clip of a film that she used with her pupils leading to discussion on the need for peace and forgiveness. The children undertook assignments to imagine what peace would look like.

Although the peace deal has been signed, the hard work to peace making now begins, with the rehabilitation and re-training of guerilla militants for jobs in the mainstream economy, and with the acceptance and forgiveness of the people towards FARC guerillas. A justice commission has been set up.

To reap the dividends for peace, the government is seeking economic support from the international economic community. The government has also requested the Catholic Church to be a partner for peace. CAFOD with its sister agency, CARITAS Colombia is involved with the education for peace. No longer a guerilla movement, FARC has a legitimate political voice. May the peace that has begun continue to present opportunities for a better future for the people of Colombia and this beautiful country.

Written by Irene Prentice
CAFOD Contact Person – St John the Evangelist, Bath

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Calling Young Adults

CAFOD Gap Year volunteer vacancies are open for 18-30 year olds.

Last year, a student from Trowbridge went on a CAFOD Gap year. More information can be found on the CAFOD website at http://www.CAFOD.org.uk/Education/CAFOD-Gap-year.

Paris climate change agreement

We took your voices to the heart of government when we presented our 40,000 strong petition to Number 10 Downing Street. We now have a Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition.


Do you know anyone aged 18-30 looking for a gap year with a difference? Applications are now open for CAFOD’s young leadership programme. The deadline is 11th March 2016. Find out more on our website www.cafod.org.uk/gapyear.

Laudato Sí Parliamentary debate

The motion was intended to set the scene for a parliamentary session in which backbenchers could give their views to the government on the forthcoming Paris Climate Change Conference which aims for a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.

 

David Packham attended on behalf of CAFOD and has provided this summary report.

CAFOD: Making a difference in Myanmar

CAFOD: How your support makes a difference in Myanmar

At a CAFOD Clifton reception on 14 April, Fr. Pius Win Than, Assistant Director from CARITAS Myanmar, CAFOD's sister agency, extended his gratitude to all in our parish for supporting CAFOD and in "showing mercy and compassion" through the generous donations that CARITAS Myanmar has received from CAFOD.

Giving a first hand account, Fr. Pius, who survived Cyclone Nargis that wrecked his village in the Partein Diocese, described the large-scale devastation of the powerful cyclone on 3rd May 2008. 150,000 people were killed, and a further 2.4 million people were affected, with homes, farmlands and crops destroyed.

Thanks to CAFOD’s support and your donations CARITAS Partein is able to work with the poor and vulnerable communities of Partein Diocese by setting up disaster risk reduction and preparedness strategies, such as installing loudspeakers to warn of bad weather and cyclones, and the building of embankments to prevent sea water from damaging crop fields (wet rice farming requires clean water).

To mitigate the damage caused by disasters, CARITAS Partein is putting in place emergency preparedness plans. Illustrating with a slide presentation, Fr. Pius described the installation of high-level pumps to draw clean drinking water from wells to a high over-head tank, as well as the construction of high-level grain storage facilities. As an aside, Fr. Pius informed that the diocese has bought five acres of farmland for growing padi. During harvest, 10 bags of rice per acre are stored for emergency rations. Older stocks are sold.

Through information and support from local CARITAS staff, the poor have a better understanding of their basic human rights. They also learn about the importance and need to maintain good hygiene standards to protect their health, and the importance of planting trees to prevent soil erosion.

By Irene Prentice, CAFOD Parish Contact

 

SPICMA update and appeal

Click here for the latest SPICMA Pakistan and Uganda update and appeals.

Karamoja Drought

Again Karamoja is once again facing a dry spell at a very critical time. The people were very glad to welcome the rains at the beginning of April. People went out to cultivate. The crops were growing very well. Unfortunately, since mid May there has not been any rain.

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The rain cut short many people who were still cultivating. The crops that had been planted at the beginning of rains had grown up and some had now started flowering but unfortunately because of the heat they are now withering and dying.

What is happening in Karamoja now is a major disaster. We are facing a second year of total crop failure. The maize that were planted have now died. The sorghum which is normally much more resistant are also now starting to die. With sorghum crop gone, the situation for the farmers is dire. Farming here is subsistence farming. What they get primarily for local consumption with little or no surplus for trade. Moreover it is not just the loss of crop that we are talking about, farmers invested their money, time and energy in the farms all that is now gone.

With the crops gone, there is no food and no money. The desperate situation that we thought was soon passing is now with us again. Very soon there will be no vegetables which have supplemented the little food that people had. The people are becoming restless. Thievery and violence are becoming common. Worst of all we are also experiencing a wave of suicide. Within Panyangara Parish alone there has been six suicides since March this year.

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Meanwhile the situation of the old people, the sick and the children is increasingly becoming bad. Even among those that are getting support from us things are not easy. The little support they get they have to share it with the larger family members. As a result some of those who are sickly have died. it is even worst with those who are HIV positive since they cannot take drugs without eating any solid food

However, there is still some glimpse of hope. There are still some dark clouds gathering. If the rains were to come back soon, some crops could still survive. In which case the harvest will be poor but at least there will be something. In the month of May and part of June, Caritas Kotido distributed some food in parts of Kotido town area. The World Food Programme with their partners are also continuing with their normal distribution. Sadly they have not scaled it up.

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SPICMA 201604 06 On our part we were once again very pleased to receive the donation of £30,000.00 which came in June. It has helped us to serve the people well this month. As usual we are gating very huge numbers of desperate people but we do our best to serve as much as we can. We are very grateful to SPICMA and the donors for all your support. Thank you Your help is saving lives here in Karamoja.
   

Fr. Sylvester Odhiambo
Mill Hill Missionary

 

Fr. Bernard talks about SPICMA

A video of Father Bernard Phelan talking about SPICMA can be viewed here.

Famine Situation in Karamoja

In the last few days we have been blessed by rain and we hope that this is the beginning of rainy season which will eventually bring food. However, at the moment the hunger situation on the ground is very unbearable.

The draught went on for far too long. The people were already becoming restless due to the prolonged draught and the unusual hot temperatures. The elders offered several sacrifices for the rains therefore the coming of rain is a big relief.

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Coping mechanism

The coming of the rain is a blessing and we hope and pray that it will continue. In the short term the rain is going to help with coping mechanism and in the long run we hope that it will solve the problem of hunger. In the short term there going to be plenty of wild vegetables and fruits which will go a long way in supplementing the food. With the rain also a lot of people will be hired as casual labourers in the farms of those who are better off. As casual labourers they will earn one meal per day. The sale of charcoal and firewood will also go up. Therefore those who are in good health should be able to cope with the hunger.

Challenges

Unfortunately, the current household coping mechanisms are not sustainable. In the short term they will provide the most needed relief but in the long term it will keep majority of productive people in the cycle of food insecurity. Those who are hired as casual labourer in other people’s farms will not cultivate their own farms. Those who resort to sell firewood and charcoal too will have no time to cultivate their farms. Unfortunately the coming of rain also does come with high vulnerability to diseases. The possibilities of outbreak of disease like Cholera during rainy season are high. This is due to poor hygiene and poor nutrition. Therefore there is still need for external aid to help people bounce back to normal livelihoods.

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The beneficiaries of our food aid are people whose situation is dire.

They are mostly old men and women, HIV/AIDS positive people, malnourished people and extremely poor households. As much as the coming of rain is a relief, these people will still need support. All along these people have been forced to share the food they receive with their relatives. In fact, for some, we had to resort to giving them their ratio daily just to make sure that they have something to eat. Otherwise their relatives would eat all their food in just few days.

We are also helping some who are extremely malnourished to receive medical care and taking care of some orphans whose parents died due to dieses and hunger.

The last grant of £10,000 (47,107,158/= UGX) arrived in our account on 22nd of March 2016 and it is not yet used. This money will be able to help us in this current month. We would appreciate if we could continue up to July.

It is our hope that by July the situation would have started to change for the better. Ideally by that time the beans should be ready and by August the sorghum should be ready.

On behalf of the beneficiaries I say thanks to SPICMA and to all the donors. Your donation has helped to save lives. The situation is bad but with your help it has become bearable to some people who would be dead by now.

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Sylvester Odhiambo

Panyangara Catholic Parish