The aircraft is similar to what they use to reach remote communities in over 1000 destinations worldwide, delivering vital and lifesaving services providing food, medication, and more.
Church members helped the team assemble the plane wings alongside the church car park which became an impressive sight to passing traffic. MAF also brought along a flight simulator which gave visitors a chance to experience landing this aircraft on one of the many narrow dirt track runways which MAF pilots deal with every day.
Alan and Annette Hone volunteer for MAF in Papa New Guinea and worship at St Mark’s when they are back in this country. They provided the link between the church and MAF which led to the partnership between the two.
MAF is a Christian mission organisation and the largest humanitarian air service operating in more than 25 low-income countries, delivering aid, medicine and relief, transporting personnel, and responding to natural disasters in areas widely inaccessible by road. Founded by a handful of RAF veterans in 1945, MAF’s earliest vision was to help isolated people in the aftermath of WWII, using aircraft as force for peace rather than conflict.
The vicarage garden was filled with stalls, children’s games, barbeque, and various entertainment throughout the afternoon. Refreshments were served in the church hall where more exhibits could be found including a model railway provided by St Mark’s railway group.
Gerry Williams, former churchwarden, and a group of church volunteers work tirelessly on allotments in Somerleyton producing vegetables, flowers and plants which proved to be very popular.
St Mark’s children and families worker Georgi Warren organised various children’s activities which were enjoyed by many young families, and members of the St Mark’s worship band provided musical interludes between visiting groups such as the Felixstowe Ukulele band.
The Revd Helen Jary said, “It was brilliant to see so many people from the community coming together to enjoy this event. There was such a lovely atmosphere throughout! It was a wonderful way to welcome visitors, share some of God’s love and promote the work of MAF.”