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Migration and Refugees

by Michael Ford last modified 01 Jun, 2021 11:11 AM

A page with some thoughts, resources and links.

Syrian Resettlement Programme - Dorset and Wiltshire

We are looking for suitable housing for Syrian refugee families arriving through the Syrian Resettlement Programme. Homes need to be affordable, available for long-term rent, self-contained, and with good access to public transport. If you know a landlord or property owner who might be open to this, please get them to email Colin Brady in the first instance.

Migration has played a key part in the history of humanity. Many of us have stories of how our ancestors moved within and across countries out of necessity, perhaps seeking sanctuary from hardship, wars and genocides.

The Abrahamic faiths share stories of people who were nomads, and in the account of the nativity of Christ we recall the savage oppression under Herod that forced the Holy Family to take flight as refugees. No wonder that among the key requirements of our faith is the need to show hospitality and kindness to strangers.

It has been very encouraging to see how people across the Diocese of Salisbury have responded to the current refugee crisis. Even before the stories and photographs that have inspired many to take action, some of our parishes had collected clothing and other goods to bring to Calais.

In the face of obvious need, just as we have shown in our support for foodbanks, people in Dorset and Wiltshire have shown sacrificial generosity.

What can we do now?

We know nothing right now about the needs of people who may be settled in our area as refugees under the Government’s commitment to provide sanctuary for Syrian refugees. As well as being traumatised by war, many of these refugees may well be unaccompanied children who have lost their families. As a Diocese we can commit to working with the agencies and voluntary organisations that have the experience and skills for this specialist work. A small group has been set up as part of the Social Justice team to encourage and coordinate our Diocesan response.

What we can do now is to encourage donations to organisations working with refugees. Some links are given below.

We can also prepare ourselves and our communities to be welcoming places of sanctuary. This might be the right time for urban parishes in particular to promote the vision of Cities of Sanctuary in their local boroughs and councils. We can equip ourselves with the facts about why so many people are having to seek refuge at this time and use that information to counter myths and falsehoods about them. More here

We can encourage people, especially landlords, to think about how accommodation might be offered. Again, a number of links are given below to organisations that are preparing to facilitate this. Citizens UK have launched an appeal for homes and more information can be found on their website.
 

Prayers

These two prayers are from Christian Aid, who have other resources for prayer and vigils on their website.

Merciful God,
We pray for all whose desperation leads them to the sea,
to undertake perilous voyages,
often following dangerous journeys over land:
those escaping brutal wars,
those fleeing religious persecution,
those escaping climate disasters and economic ruin,
those looking for hope in a hopeless situation.

May we look beyond our own fears and concerns
to the needs of those who have nothing,
risk everything
and depend on the kindness of strangers.
May our hearts be opened,
our leaders be challenged
and our self-interest be called out,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.

‘Deal with each other justly, do not oppress the refugee, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood. Journey in all the ways I command you, that all may go well with you.’ (Jeremiah 7, 6-7)

Support

The Diocese of Canterbury has information about supporting refugees which can be found here.

If you want to support humanitarian aid to refugees in Europe, especially in the Calais area, there is a local group that can be contacted on Facebook.

Refugee Action is an independent charity that has been working with refugees for over thirty years. Website here.

The Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe is an ecumenical organisation that serves the churches in their commitment to promote the vision of an inclusive community through advocating for an adequate policy for migrants, refugees and minority groups at European and national level. More here.
 
 

Longer term responses

Some local councils are putting plans in place to receive new refugees. There will be many opportunities to help – please see the Diocesan website and other groups for updates and general advice. Offering a room in your own home may be a possibility but please seek support in considering the issues involved.
 

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