The minister of Enniskillen Presbyterian Church, the Rev. David Cupples is hoping to make a difference by ‘walking the full length of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain’.
During April and May, he is taking a Sabbatical. “It is a time for God; a time for prayer, reflection and renewal - as well as a break from daily work,” outlines Mr. Cupples, who explains the walk will be 635 miles in total – from Aire-sur-l’Adour in the south of France to Finisterre on the Atlantic coast of Spain and will include the 500 miles of the pilgrim route the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
“I would like to use this opportunity to raise money to help refugees and other victims of the conflict and violence in Syria and Iraq,” says the well-known clergyman.
He has direct contact with two people working in the Middle East; the Rev. Colin Dickson, who was the Presbyterian Minister in Cavanaleck and Aughentaine, near Fivemiletown from 2006 to 2013, is in Amman, Jordan, and Dr Jany Haddad is in Aleppo, Syria, whom the money will be equally divided between.
Mr. Cupples goes on to say: “Our hearts go out to refugees - forced from their homes and homelands by persecution threat and violence - perhaps with no hope of return. They had no choice. I have a choice to help them.”
A fundraising page - https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/DavidCupplesCaminoFund - set up by Mr. Cupples, highlights that they are “raising £10,000 to help refugees and other victims of the conflict in Syria.”
He said he wants to try to do some good with his walk. “I was appalled by the suffering of the people of Aleppo and want to raise money for a doctor there called Jany Haddad,” he said, adding: “Dr Haddad does medical work, provides practical help and trauma counselling for orphans and widows and also helps sink wells to provide clean water.”
In reference to his friend, the Rev. Colin Dickson, he says “the church he attends has a ministry to refugees from Syria and Iraq, again providing practical and spiritual help. Some of the students at Colin’s theological seminary are refugees; they struggle to provide for their families. I have benefitted so much from education and theological training, I want to help them also.”
Mr. Cupples, who is married to Rosie and has two children Ellen and Peter, points out that the total amount he raises “will be divided equally between Barnabas Fund and the Presbyterian Church to be channelled safely and securely to help those in need of medical treatment, widows, orphans, refugees and those training for Christian ministry. With your help I can bring help and hope to them and shine some more light in some very dark places.”
On his facebook page, David’s Camino, he speaks about the ‘Camino Opportunities’. “After the light went on that this was the right thing to do,” he said he began to analyse why. He feels it affords the opportunity to engage in “every spiritual discipline and activity which helps us focus on God and give space to listen to him.”
Donations can be made through David’s justgiving page, or by cheque (made out to ‘David Cupples Camino Fund’) and delivered to Enniskillen Presbyterian Church Office. Cash gifts can also be left at the Church Office, or The Church Mouse Shop.