In a recent News Update Clive wrote:
The Touch of Hope team Clive, Judith and Nena has been very active over the last few weeks leading two workshops in Bosnia with a group of 12 primary and secondary school teachers.
The first workshop was on the theme of Forgiveness. We heard different stories about Forgiveness including that of Jo Berry and Pat Magee. Jo and Pat work with the Forgiveness Project. Jo’s father Sir Anthony Berry MP was killed in the IRA bomb attack on the Grand Hotel Brighton when the Conservative Party conference was taking place in 1984. The workshop was very challenging for the group for whom the whole theme of Forgiveness is very difficult because of so many atrocities that took place in the war in the 90s.
The second workshop, a fortnight later, was on the theme of Reconciliation and was equally challenging.
The workshops were held in Kozarica Dubica. a small town standing on the banks of the river Una which form the border between Croatia and Bosnia.
We feel the time is right to bring a group over from Bosnia and Croatia to Nuneaton in the early Autumn for a study visit and workshop. At the time of writing we cannot give exact dates and details but we will be looking for hosts and offers of help for the visit.
We are hoping to have a high profile public meeting on the theme of Forgiveness at which visitors from Bosnia will speak alongside two other speakers.
As soon as details are confirmed we shall let you all know but in the meantime we would value your thoughts and prayers for the visit and for the public meeting.
For further details contact me or look at our website firstname.lastname@example.org .
After the cheque from Radford Road Church was presented, Clive wrote the following letter to say Thanks from the Touch of Hope:
On 5th August I was presented with a cheque for £1000 for the work of Touch of Hope from Radford Road Church. We thank you most sincerely for this amount which will be used particularly for our work in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hvala ljepo (which is Croatian for thank you!)
It seems incredible that it was 20 years ago when I was catapulted into Radford Road by the Methodist Stationing System! Ann and I moved from inner city Birmingham to Leamington Spa and Whitnash. It was quite a move! I remember saying in my ‘welcome’ speech that I was committed to working in the former Yugoslavia. I rejoice in the fact that you all embraced the work in Croatia immediately and we had a few groups visiting the church and they were always made very welcome. Often I see members of these groups in Croatia and they always remark on the warmth of the hospitality they were shown when they visited Radford Road.
I wanted to share with you a story of what happened on one of the workshops in Bosnia in May this year.
A big part of our work is to train facilitators to run workshops in their own communities. This is Unit 3 of our training and consists of training in facilitation skills. The course teaches participants about planning and leading workshops. On all our workshops we try to have a trainee facilitator.
On our workshop in May in Bosnia on the theme of Reconciliation Desa, a Serb born in Bosnia and living now in Vukovar Croatia, helped us enormously and made a significant contribution.
Desa came to the UK herself some time ago and has been through all our training. At first Desa did not say very much at all at workshops! She writes herself that she was blocked many times on workshops. However, it was the prayer for healing that seemed to make a difference to her and she suddenly found herself being able to thank God for Touch of Hope and to pray to God in her own words.
Fast forward to this year and I observe a very different Desa to when I first met her. She came into the last workshop of our basic training for the group of Primary school teachers and assisted in the running of the workshop. It was not an easy task for her to do this as the group was well formed already and the topic was challenging. But Desa was a STAR!! She won the group over and people commented on how Desa contributed to the workshop. Desa talked about her own experience of being on Touch of Hope. This sharing of experience of workshops encouraged members of the group to share themselves and not be afraid of talking about difficult subjects. She led exercises well and confidently and I could not believe it was the same person.
Desa is now very active in her own community in peace work and helps run activities. Touch of Hope has helped her to be empowered to lead and to challenge people. Desa is just one example of the many people Touch of Hope has helped.
From September 24th to October 1st a group of 20 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina will be visiting Nuneaton. A public meeting will be held on September 25th at 7.30pm at Nuneaton Methodist Church, Abbey Street, Nuneaton, CV11 5BX . I would be delighted if some people from Radford Road Church and other interested people could attend this meeting.
Revd Clive Fowle
Click on the link below to see poster giving details of the public meeting