Parishioners from Corpus Christi Oxford open their garden to support Connect2

Heavy rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of parishioners from Corpus Christi, Oxford, when they held an Open Garden afternoon to raise funds for the CAFOD Connect2 Project with Sebeya, Ethiopia.

The rain didn’t deter 100 year old Gretta Guy from enjoying the scented flowers of the garden

The Italianate garden of parishioners Nicholas and Pam Coote has featured in books, magazines and on TV.  It is semi-formal in style, inspired by the Mediterrnean architecture of the house and a love of Italy – dramatic plants, defining hedges, a multitude of pots, decorative paths and cooling green shade.  It is regularly opened under the National Open Garden Scheme and the abundant scented flowers and mosaic water gardens are always  popular features.  On Saturday, amidst stormy rain and gusty winds, the gardens were opened to raise funds for the CAFOD project supported by the Parish.


Visitors enjoying tea and cakes under the gazebo

Parish Priest Canon Mervyn Tower, said,

“This is a beautiful Italian oasis in the centre of the Parish and it was good to see the enthusiasm of the Connect2 group and the participation of parishioners in the rain.”

Pam Coote, who collected the entry fees under a large green umbrella, said,

“I am delighted we made so much money for CAFOD despite the dire weather, due to everybody’s generosity and enthusiasm.”

Oxford 1

Pam Coote and Richard Brooke collect entry fees for the Open Garden event

The Justice and Peace group at the Parish had made cakes, scones with cream, and biscuits to sell at the tea stall, which retreated into the garage to avoid the downpours.  There was quite a lot left over but with ingenuity and speed they were all sold at a pop-up cake sale after the 6pm Mass that evening at Our Lady of Lourdes, Wheatley, and  the 9am Mass on Sunday morning at Corpus Christi.


The tea stall retreated into the garage!

Proceeds from the event amounted to over £250, taking the total Connect2 fund-raising to over £6,600, making a significant contribution to the Parish target to raise £7000 for Sebeya. This would be equivalent to the cost of installing an irrigation system to overcome the dry and arid conditions of Northern Ethiopia – but not of Oxford on Saturday afternoon!

Well done to all who organised the event and who attended it!

> Find out more about our CAFOD’s Connect2 scheme

St Gregory the Great Summer Garden Party – Oxford

When the PTA of St Gregory the Great School in Oxford decided to hold a Garden Party to raise funds for the school, they invited the Connect2 CAFOD group at Corpus Christi Parish in Oxford to attend to tell people about the their work supporting the people of Sebeya, in Ethiopia.

St Gregory the Great School summer garden Party 2017

> Find out about Connect 2 and about Sebeya

And alongside stalls selling burgers, cream teas and cakes, the Connect2 group sold Ethiopian Food made by parishioners from recipes on the CAFOD website, alongside display boards telling stories of the Sebeya Community, and copies of a prayer by Sebeya Parish Priest, Abba Solomon.

Ruth Derbyshire and Judith Fitzgerald are served by Claire Lama

Parishioner Claire Lama ladled out the food of falafels, green bean stew and spicy tomato salad to hungry party-goers, together with Defo Dabo* (a mild spicy bread) and Honey Yeast Bread*, followed by a fruit salad made from fruits likely to be available in Ethiopia – and the bowls quickly emptied!.

>>  Get the recipe for the Defo Dabo (a mild spicy bread) and Honey Yeast Bread

Face-painted customers enjoyed the fruit salad

3 year old Caspian enjoys Honey Yeast Bread

Claire also had a large atlas of the World and pointed out the location of Sebeya, near to the ancient city of Adigrat, close to the Eritrean border, to parents, teachers and children making it an educational as well as a delicious meal.

Parish Priest of Corpus Christi, Canon Mervyn Tower, who is also a governor of the school, said, “It is good to see the role of CAFOD, and its links with communities around the world, being brought to the wider school community.”

The Parish has been involved with the Connect2 project for two years and is close to reaching its target of £7000 to donate to CAFOD, which would be the amount required to pay for the irrigation system which is currently under construction.  In this way, the Parish will have played a part in bringing more reliability to the crop production in this arid region of Ethiopia, which is prone to severe drought and starvation.

>> Sign up to Connect 2


Young Pianist plays for Connect2 Ethiopia Project

Parishioners from Corpus Christi, Oxford, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Wheatley, enjoyed a wonderful concert in aid of their CAFOD Connect2 project with Sebeya, Ethiopia.  Young virtuoso pianist, Jem Duckmanton,  played a wide range of pieces from 18th – 20th Century Classical composers.

Jem Duckmanton plays in aid of Connect 2 Ethiopia

The concert was the brainchild of Wheatley parishioner, Freda Duckmanton, whose 19 year old grandson, Jem, is a talented pianist and chorister, awarded a scholarship to study composition at the Purcell School.  Jem was delighted to perform for the Parish and proceeds from the retiring collection raised £360 towards the parish’s Connect 2 target of £7000, which it hopes to reach in autumn 2017.  This would be sufficient to fund a new irrigation system for the community in Sebeya in the drought-torn region of North Ethiopia, close to the Eritrean border.

>> Find out more about the Connect2 Scheme

Connect2 Target

During the interval in the performance, parishioners gathered over a glass of wine and learnt more about the CAFOD Connect 2 Project and Ethiopia.

The parish has done such wonderful events over the years  to support the community in Sebeya and this was no exception.

Fr Mervyn thanks Jem

Thanking Jem for a wonderful evening of music, Parish Priest, Canon Mervyn Tower said, “You have filled the church with wonderful sounds this evening, so much richer than listening to Classic FM on the radio.  Your rendering of Arabesque by Debussy was particularly moving but I am sure we all had our own favourite moments from pieces from Bach to Rachmaninov.”

The audience cheered their appreciation of Jem who played  Dudley Moore’s witty piece, Beethoven parody, as an encore.  At the end of the evening, Jem received three curtain calls in appreciation of his talent and commitment.

Thank you to Corpus Christi, Oxford, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Wheatley for organising such a wonderful event and particularly to Jem for using your amazing skills to help support our brothers and sisters in Sebeya.

To find out more about the Connect 2 Scheme and the other 4 countries involved in the scheme, visit our C2 website.