Christmas gifts for families affected by domestic abuse 

The Toy and Gift Parade Service at Bishop Ridley Church in Falconwood has collected enough gifts to ensure every family supported by Bexley Women's Aid will receive a gift this Christmas. 

Clair and Rev Mark with gifts

Clair from Bexley Women’s Aid and Rev Mark with gifts from Bishop Ridley Church Toy and Gift Parade Service. 

Bishop Ridley Church has supported Bexley Women’s Aid through its Toy and Gift service for more than a decade. Each year the uniformed groups associated with the church and the local community join together to start the festive period off by thinking of others and giving gifts to women and children who have had to leave all their belongings to flee domestic abuse. 

The Rev Mark, Vicar of Bishop Ridley Church, said: 
“The generosity of our local community has yet again been demonstrated through the toys, books and gifts they have brought along for children and their mothers in the borough. Bexley Women’s Aid does vital work to protect women and their children and support them to find a safe place to live.”

The annual service, which took place on Sunday (5 December) at the parish church was held during the UN 16 Days of Activism which starts with White Ribbon Day on 25 November. 

2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the Global UN 16 Days of Activism campaign, which raises awareness about violence against women. This year the campaign focuses on “femicide” or the gender-related killing of women. An average of two women a week are murdered by a current or former partner in England and Wales.

The Church of England Diocese of Rochester of which Bishop Ridley Church is a part, is standing up to domestic abuse by supporting the White Ribbon UK Campaign; a global movement to end male violence against women.

The Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones, said:
"I am encouraging men to make the White Ribbon promise with me to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women, so I am delighted to hear what Bishop Ridley Church are doing to support Bexley Women’s Aid.

“The White Ribbon promise means being an upstander when it counts, and making the world a safer place for women to live and flourish in.  One where they are being listened to and where  men are taking responsibility for their own actions. A place where love and equality, respect and kindness point to the better world that God in Christ is calling into being."