We were taken by church members David Smith and Paul Slater to Dar Tereza Spinelli, a home for homeless women and their children, some of whom are fleeing domestic violence. There can be between 10-20 women living in the home at any one time, usually for a few months until they can be helped to find rented accommodation of their own. Many living here are quite vulnerable and the support offered by the staff of the home is vitally important in helping them regain their confidence and independence. The church supports the home with regular supplies of food donated by members of the congregation.
The church is also involved in work with men and women living in refuge centres on the island. Led by the dedicated work of church member Frank Wilmont, pastoral and practical support is offered to those who arrived in
The Marsa Centre has received recent investment both from the Maltese government and agencies abroad which has led to improved cooking, washing and accommodation facilities and a very popular internet café. Church members visit regularly, offering pastoral support, teaching English classes and even challenging residents to games of chess, which appeared very popular.
A few miles away, near the airport, is a much more basic camp comprised of a large number of tents. It is another open camp, the majority of the 600 men living here having previously spent months in the nearby closed detention centre.Again the majority are from Somalia but we talked to Ernest and Emmanuel from Nigeria. Ernest told us how he was one of only 17 out of 31 who survived an attempted boat crossing from
Ernest was an elder in a Pentecostal church in
Both men, together with a few others from the camp are now attending St Andrew’s
On Saturday evening members of the congregation gathered in the church and I led a session on Men and the Church. We had a lively discussion about possible reasons that acted as barriers to some men and young people in general from engaging with the Church. We concluded the evening by sharing a lovely meal together in the local pasta restaurant, something that would undoubtedly attract many men to come to church meetings if repeated on a regular basis.
On Sunday morning we returned to the church where I led the morning worship. I was able to bring greetings to the members of St Andrew’s, the most southerly
Following the service there was time to look around this historic city and then to head off to the other side of the island with our generous hosts Peter and Elizabeth Lloyd, and their friendly dog Rory, for a walk along the coast. Dotted along the coast are numerous small shooting hides. Shooting migrating birds has been a popular activity in
Our day concluded with a pleasant meal with church minister Doug McRoberts and his wife Lesley in the so-called silent city of Medina, the historic former capital of Malta in to which only a very limited number of cars are now allowed to enter.
Today, before we left to return to
We’ve been warmly welcomed and very well looked after during our brief visit to this fascinating island and we leave the South East District, and