Fighting for religious freedom in Caversham

An ambassador for a human rights charity who has spoken at the United Nations came to Caversham to share his goal of achieving religious freedom and human rights for people who live in some of the world’s most oppressed countries.

The Revd Stuart Windsor, special ambassador for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), visited St Andrew’s Church in Albert Road on Sunday, March 1. Over tea and cakes, he talked abut the charity’s work in more than 20 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, as it sought to help people who have been harassed, tortured, imprisoned or even killed simply because of their religious beliefs.

Last year, the charity spent 34 days at the United Nations human rights council advocating for freedom of religion or belief, which has seen two commissions of inquiry set up by the UN to investigate human rights abuses, including one for Eritrea.

More than 20 people gathered at St Andrew’s for the event. Stuart began his talk by sharing some of his own story, including how he went from being a Barnado’s boy to heading up Christian Solidarity Worldwide, including how became a Christian – “I had a really dramatic conversion,” he said – and how he was called to ministry.

Through a series of incidents, he developed a passion for speaking up for persecuted Christians across the globe, something that he feels all Christians should share.

He said: “God calls for his people to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

Later on he added: “We belong to one big family. Our call is to be a voice.”

CSW wants churches in the UK to get involved and it produces resources that can be used for prayer and campaigning. St Andrew’s is one church that does this, and hosts a monthly prayer meeting for peace and justice. This is on the first Sunday of the month, starting at 9am.

“Thank you for praying for us. That’s what we want you to do,” Stuart said, adding that people can sign up to a prayer diary and a weekly email newsletter.

For more on the work that CSW does or to sign up to its weekly newsletter, log on to its website.

Stuart’s story is explored in full in his book God’s Adventurer. It is published by Monarch, £9.99. ISBN: 9781854249999. It can be ordered from local Christian bookshops including Quench and Greyfriars.