In solidarity with Iraq

Nativity in a refugee camp

Nativity in a refugee camp

Hi everyone. I’m Ruth Baker, a retreat leader here at Castlerigg Manor, and I’m doing something special in order to get home for my Christmas holidays!

I love the outdoors and I love walking. We live in a beautiful part of the country here in the Lakes in Keswick, and my parents also live somewhere beautiful- they live in Ross-on-Wye. Ross is in the south west of England and it’s by lovely Wye River in the middle of the countryside.

I’ve decided to walk as much of my journey home as possible.

I want to raise money and awareness for Christian’s living in Iraq. This summer, they faced a terrible persecution for being Christian. Their houses were painted with a symbol to mark them out as Christian, they were told to either give up their faith, or to pay a fine, or to be killed by the terrorist group ISIS. Many fled their homes and many were killed. This area of the world is where some of the first Christian’s ever lived. This summer, there was no Mass in the ancient city of Mosel for the first time in 1600 years.

So to raise money, I’m going to walk 36 miles over two days. If you’ve ever done one of our Castlerigg walks, they’re about 3 and a half miles, so this is going to be a very big walk! I’m going to walk from Castlerigg Manor to the train station in Penrith. This will be 18 miles and it will take me all day. If the weather is good, there’ll be some great views of the mountains. I’m then going to get the train from Penrith to Hereford, a journey that takes five hours! In Hereford I’ll stay the night and then walk from Hereford to Ross-on-Wye, along the river, through forests, and finally to my parent’s house where I’ll be home for Christmas! That’s another 18 miles!

destruction of churches.jpg

I love the outdoors and I’ve done a lot of walking and hiking in the past. Even with my love of walking, I know how horrible it can get at times. 18 miles a day is a long way and by the end of it I’ll be exhausted and ready to stop. I’ll have to grit my teeth and get on with it! But at least I’ll know there is a warm bed and a hot shower waiting for me at the end of it. At least I am walking home. Maybe during this walk I will come to understand a little bit more how those Christian’s in Iraq felt, having to travel so far for so long. They will be facing a winter and a Christmas without a roof over their heads, without all the comforts of their own home, living in fear and uncertainty and never knowing if they can ever go back.

I’m raising money for Aid to the Church in Need, a charity who helps those who are persecuted for their faith. This Christmas they will be giving out presents to children who have had to leave their homes this summer, to try and give them a sense of normality in a very scary and frightening world. It would be amazing if you could sponsor me just a little bit, and please definitely pray for those who are suffering at this time. Thank you.

My JustGiving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/ruthiebakes/