We at St Mary’s are in the 21st year of our “twinning”, or Jumelage, with a parish in Douai, Northern France. The link was set up by Canon Doug Redman, then St Mary's parish priest, and a member of Beckenham Rotary, in collaboration with his good friend Marcel Brevers, a member of Douai Rotary. Parishioners from both parishes enjoy weekends in each others’ company exploring the area they live in and discussing issues of faith. We take it in turns for a party from Shortlands to visit France alternating with years when a party from Douai come to us.
About the area
Our twin parish is the Parish of St Francis of Assisi in Douai, a substantial town in the middle of an ex-coal mining area, now spawning new industries such as the Renault factory where Scenics are built. Another major industry is agriculture. The church of St Therese (where Mass is celebrated together on our visits to France) is in fact one of four that make up the parish of St Francis, served by two priests. Not far from Douai is Arras, which was a major objective for both sides in the First World War. Many of the towns and cities in this area have tall bell towers, dating from the time of the Duchy of Flanders. These towers were erected at the instruction of the Duke to allow early warning of trouble and to allow communication between parts of his fiefdom.
A very enjoyable May day weekend was spent together with our French friends from St Francis of Assisi here in Shortlands, with a visit to Down House on the Saturday afternoon. Lovely weather and warm hospitality from St Mary's parishioners made it a memorable weekend and everyone is now looking forward to 2017!
If you have any comments, questions or offers of help please see one of the Link Committee:
Gill Dawson, Ann Dalton, Jane Green, Eizabeth Barnes, Robin Hogg and Peter Stotesbury. A contact number is on the back of SPAN.