Black Santa day arrives!
On duty at St Anne’s
For two weeks before Christmas the canons of St Anne’s play their small part in supporting the Dean of Belfast as he launches his annual Black Santa Vigil.
Each day during daylight hours, plus a few, the Dean and a colleague from the chapter stand in front of the cathedral encouraging passers-by to donate to a fund which is allocated a few months later to various charitable causes operating in the region.
It is a day for warm socks and boots, thick scarves and heavy gloves as the usual cold weather welcomes us to the steps. We have been able to buy Black Santa woolly hats too, so we look part of a team. All is ready!
The wonderful part of the programme is how the people of Belfast embrace this opportunity to give, whether from collections made at churches, baskets left in pubs, whip rounds in a workplace or simply a digging deep into a pocket. One or two of the gifts amount to several thousands of pounds. One or two are for a few pence. All matter.
Hopefully it will not rain this year when the roster calls me to action! But it will be nice to help the dean and the team for a few hours.
As an (obscure) afterthought, if it is your birthday today, Happy Birthday!