The Sacred Heart Catholic church in St Ives in Cambridgeshire, has cancelled its annual 'Live Crib' event in protest against the Israeli wall being built around Bethlehem. In place of the popular tableau, complete with live animals, there will be a life-size replica portion of the 'Separation Wall; that has been built around Bethlehem. Large protest banners and photographs will show passers-by the current situation in the Holy Land. Parish priest Father Paul Maddison said: "The lives of the ordinary citizens of Bethlehem have been devastated by the building of the wall. It affects every aspect of their lives; friends and family are separated, earning a living becomes more and more difficult, access to health care is severely restricted all in the town of Bethlehem that we sing about at this time of the year. If we can provide them with a few extra basic provisions and give them a little financial support, we can help make their lives more bearable." The Church of the Sacred Heart in St Ives is twinned with the Catholic parish in Aboud Village on the West Bank. Since 2003. Fr Maddison, along with groups from St Ives and other places in East Anglia, has made regular visits to take donations and lend support to the Aboud villagers, who are Christians and Muslims. He has seen first-hand the suffering and increasingly worsening plight of the families who live there. To support their project send donations to: Holy Land 2003, PO Box 140, St Ives, PE27 9AP (cheques made payable to Holy Land 2006)
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