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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

10 July 2013: Father Peter Hollins, Chairman of PACT 2013 and St. Laurence Catholic Church

PACT helps community in many ways

From time to time men of the road ring the bell at the church house and ask for help. They often have a good story about a beloved aunt who is dying in Inverness. Grubby documents are retrieved from inner pockets as evidence of the truth. The names of assorted vicars and priests are recited to show good faith. And after the rigmarole comes the request for help. In contrast, one memorable day, a rough looking man came to the door and simply said, "I'm hungry". It was enough!

Christians have managed to fall out and splinter into many communities since the early years. Even with genuine goodwill it has proved difficult to overcome teachings that divide. But there is one thing we can do together. We can be generous as Jesus asked.

Petersfield Area Churches Together (PACT) seeks to be generous to the wider community. In January Rosemary Davies placed a special bible in my hand and, with it, handed over chairmanship of Petersfield Area Churches Together for another year. The PACT bible was first held in 1968 by Rev. Alan Cassingham and now has 35 chairman names inscribed. Over these years many people have taken the initiative, supported by PACT, to help the community.

The Kings Arms near the Festival Hall is our gift to young people of the town. The Food Bank based at the Salvation Army offers help to those who have nowhere to turn. A Christmas Lunch is prepared each year to include everybody in the celebrations. The Petersfield School kindly permit use of their premises for a Holiday Club each year; it is a wonderful week for young families and older children. The Town Chaplaincy offers sympathetic support to employers and employees in the locality. More recently we were looking at ways to help those who are in serious financial circumstances. The PACT website offers a fuller picture.

Matthew's gospel records a teaching story of Jesus. The evidence that the 'king' looks for on judgement day surprises everybody - "I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick or in prison and you came to seem me." He takes generosity personally.

Some links to the PACT organisations mentioned in Father Peter's Faith Comment:

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