UK/LEBANON: Virtual event serves up jolly good show

St John the Merciful Table, Zahle, Lebanon © Aid to the Church in Need
St John the Merciful Table, Zahle, Lebanon © Aid to the Church in Need

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, friends of a leading Catholic charity came together with families in Lebanon at a virtual lunch in aid of a vital initiative serving hot meals for survivors of genocidal persecution.

The Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Virtual Sunday Lunch took place online on Sunday (21st March) attracting people from across the UK and beyond.

The event raised more than £10,000 in aid of the St John the Merciful Table (SJMT) in Zahle, eastern Lebanon which provides more than 1,500 hot meals every day for Syrian refugees who escaped Daesh (ISIS) and others who are homeless and in great need.

Guests at the Virtual Sunday Lunch were treated to a line-up, including a live interview with Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop John Darwish of Zahle, short videos about the SJMT and those who use the service, personal testimonials from UK visitors to the kitchen, music and a Lebanese cookery demonstration.

The event, the first of its kind by ACN (UK) responded to increasing demand for SJMT, which during the pandemic has been providing a takeaway service.

ACN (UK) Community Outreach Manager Dr Caroline Hull co-hosted the event with Lorraine McMahon, Head of Operations in Scotland.

Dr Hull, who is based in the North-West, said: “Our Virtual Sunday Lunch provided a wonderful opportunity for the ACN family here in the UK to share a virtual meal and to work together to provide prayers and support for our suffering brothers and sisters in Lebanon.

“We’d like to thank all those who gave their time and talents to produce this event, and especially all those who came along to spend the afternoon with us.”

The ACN Virtual Sunday Lunch can be viewed through a link on the charity’s website and donations are still being taken to support this initiative.

Dr Hull is hopeful that many more people will view the ACN Virtual Sunday Lunch. “We are delighted with the positive feedback and response we’ve already received.

“This event offers all who wish to watch the event on catch-up a chance to enjoy an hour or two in virtual fellowship with ACN friends here in the UK as well as those who are struggling in Lebanon. Please do grab a seat at the ACN virtual table. All are very welcome.”