We welcomed Jill Cannings from Uppingham Mothers’ Union as our speaker in November. She told us of her involvement with the PCDC. This stands for “Practical Compassion for Destitute Children”. Her talk was punctuated by Biblical quotations, the first being
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”
The PCDC was set up, in Palestine, 20 years ago by the Reverend Malcolm Jones, who has already been 50 years in the Christian ministry. As a young man, he visited Jerusalem. He quickly became aware of the great need for practical help among families there. He took the bold step of buying a washing machine for a needy family, and very soon afterwards, the amount of money necessary to cover this came in a cheque to him.
Currently, 250-300 children in Palestine are supported by PCDC. The Revd Jones takes people who are interested in this work and shows them what is being done. Each such visitor pays for his/her own travel and accommodation costs. Funds are raised for the charity by buying items made from olive wood in Bethlehem, and selling them back in UK. The charity is non-political.
Jill and her late husband Peter became involved in PCDC in 2014. On their first visit to Palestine, they took a goodly consignment of baby clothes, to one of the hospitals. Peter was able to transfer the records of the charity from index cards to computer.
Five million Palestinians are classified as refugees, by the United Nations. The people are living surrounded by a wall. Their territory is diminishing and Jill described it as being like living in an open prison. The PCDC pays a proportion of the fees to enable children to attend the Christian schools. Members of the PCDC team visit these schools. The second Biblical quotation was used here
“Is there any among you who, if your child asks for bread will give a stone?”
The government advises against visiting Hebron, and here Jill used her third quote
“Whosoever welcomes one such child in My name, welcomes Me”.
Jill and her fellow PCDC members went to a school in the middle of Hebron. She was able to overcome the language barrier when visiting the schoolchildren by performing tricks with her travelling spectacles, which come apart at the hinges, much to the amazement of her young audience. The next Biblical quote was
“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them. Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The School of Hope, caters for more challenging children. This is funded by the PCDC. Here Jill used another quote,
He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace be still”
Jill and her party also visited the Conflict Resolution Centre. Significantly they observed only one childrens’ playground in Bethlehem, – – – – – – surrounded by a wall. However, there are also some success stories –
Mahmood had lacked direction, and he became a nurse. Steve had been labelled a failure, but became a barber. Rev. Jones was able to get Monica into a school in Jerusalem and she eventually became a Hotel Manager. The “House of Joy” looks after young homeless people. Simon, one such, was then placed in a family recommended by a local Priest. After a time, that family moved from the area, and now Simon attends the PCDC School of Hope, as a boarder.
Jill has the ongoing interest in the children of a widow lady, whom she sponsors. She describes her involvement as “just responding to what is going on there”. She concluded her talk by quoting the words of Jesus when He said:
“Talitha Kumi” : “Child get up”
This is what PCDC does.