The Justice and Peace Group meets most months with the aim of pulling together the outreach activities in the parish and and of helping to maintain a common focus on why we are carrying out these charitable activities. We believe that it is very important for us to show solidarity as a parish in carrying out the will of God with the aim of making His world a better place for the many who are suffering needlessly, by reaching out a helpful hand and - just as important - a hopeful voice.
Who makes up the Justice & Peace Group?
The groups which are represented presently include:
New members are always welcome. Meeting dates are published in the bulletin and in the monthly calendar. Any parish member who can spare time to contribute to ideas and their development is very welcome to join us - we need all the support we can get so just come along to a meeting. Coordinators: Dianne Luping and Saki Lee
The Group is also responsible for our annual Parish Lenten Campaign.
Most years, during Lent, the Group designates a particular project to feature as our Campaign. We try to get all our families involved in these Campaigns as a way to strengthen the significance of these special months through active contribution to others. Some of our past campaigns have included buying mosquito nets for a project in Kenya, sponsoring the building of houses in The Philippines, sending support to help the 'butterfly children' (sufferers of Epidermolysis bullosa
) of Chile, gathering funds for refugee projects in Holland and Lesbos (Greece), and many others. Information is always placed in the bulletin.
Hand in Hand Refugee Project
Just before the summer of 2016, the Year of Mercy, the COS parish started out with its own refugee project, "Hand in Hand". The first objective of that project has been to set up a buddy system for refugees in The Hague, providing them with hospitality and practical help. Together with Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland the Hand in Hand group designed and quickly launched a pilot version of such a buddy system: potential buddy volunteers were interviewed, a lot of information was shared, and eventually some 15 refugees were effectively paired to a buddy from within the COS Parish.
Whereas this buddy system revolves largely around the teaching of Dutch (naturally is one of the most immediate needs of refugees arriving in The Heague), the Hand in Hand group is trying hard to gradually broaden the scope of its project. We hope to offer the refugees a genuine feeling of welcome and and an 'alternative home' by getting them involved in a variety of 'communal' activities in and around our parish, to which also more non-Dutch speakers from the COS parish are able to contribute. Thus far several events have already taken place:
- a welcome dinner on the occasion of the opening of the COS Loft, where hopefully many activities with refugees will be hosted
- a day trip to Brussels, together with regular parishioners
- a visit to designer Omar Munie's Dream Factory, examplifying social entrepreneurship, with a focus on refugees (also featured as the 2017 Lenten Campaign)
- the start of Soul Kitchen, a regular international dinner with refugees and volunteers (two editions have been held so far, with approx. 30 participants)
- a visit to ProDemos and the Tweede Kamer
- a bike trip around the tulip fields around Lisse
If you are interested in participating in this project, or you require more information, please contact Saki Lee through the parish office.
The Parish Amnesty group was formed a few years ago to provide an avenue of assistance within the Parish to various individuals worldwide whose human rights are being abused. The main activity of our group is collecting appeal letters once a month, signed by our fellow parishioners. Our coordinator picks the topic beforehand, creates the letters and afterwards, makes sure the letters are stamped and sent. Occasionally, we are approached by a member of our Parish asking for a letter campaign on a particular cause or individual. If the parameters are within the Amnesty International guidelines we are happy to do this and would, indeed encourage this level of interest.
If you want to help with collecting letters – only once a month for 30 minutes right after Mass – please send your contact details to the Parish office. Also watch in the bulletin for information about the Urgent Action Appeals.
The principal of trying to support initiatives to ensure that the primary producers in the Third World receive a fair price for their goods is one which we try to back up in many ways. We buy Fair Trade products for the church's own needs and encourage parishioners to do the same. On the first Sunday of each month the Fair Trade shop situated at the church is open. In some years we have focussed on Fair Trade for our Lenten campaign.