On Sunday 4 December 2022 during morning worship, the congregation at The Church at Carrs Lane wrote greetings cards to prisoners of conscience, families of those who had been persecuted, or groups who were being denied their human rights. This was all part of Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Campaign which takes place every year.
It is hard to believe but The Church at Carrs Lane has been doing this in one form or another for 40 years on a Sunday around Human Rights day (10 December).
In 1977, church member Rev Frank Rock set up an Amnesty group based at Carrs Lane. It was called the Central Birmingham Amnesty Group. That group is still going today and meets regularly in the city centre. The way the group operates has changed over the years but it is still campaigning against Human Rights abuses of all kinds. Some time later it was suggested that the church took part in the Greetings Card campaign around Human Rights Day which was organised by Amnesty International. Members and friends of the church have written in the region of 100 cards each year so we must have sent about 4000 cards in that time. It has always been a team effort, with various people making the cards, particularly Margaret Cross. I am extremely grateful to Jan Searle who volunteered to make the cards this year.
We know from Amnesty International that these cards are much appreciated by the groups or individuals who receive them. As a result of the 2021 campaign, Imoleayo Adeyeun Michael of Nigeria wrote:
‘I sincerely appreciate all who have been supportive…and Amnesty Nigeria who stretched out arms of love towards me.’
On occasions people at Carrs Lane have received individual replies but many replies or messages of thanks are received by Amnesty International itself.
Each year Amnesty focuses on a particular group of people to send a card to. Last year it was to people and groups who were being persecuted because they had been using their right to protest.
- Chow Hang-Tong from Hong Kong was jailed for remembering victims of Tiananmen Square.
- Aleksandra Skochilenko in Russia was detained for protesting against the invasion of Ukraine
- Vahid Afkari in Iran has been tortured and detained in solitary confinement for protesting peacefully.
These are only some of the people we campaigned for last year. We hope that we make a difference to their lives.
If anybody would like more information about the work of Amnesty International, please talk to Christine Rowntree at church, or visit https://www.amnesty.org.uk or twitter @amnestyUK or https://www.facebook.com/AmnestyUK/.com