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Migration and Refugees

by Michael Ford last modified 12 Jun, 2020 08:22 PM

A page with some thoughts, resources and links.

 Turkey hosts the most refugees - 3.7 million - and has topped the UN list for 5 years in a row. According to UNHCR statistics by mid-2018 there were 124,018​ refugees, 33,035​ pending asylum cases and 106 stateless persons in the UK. The vast majority of refugees stay in their region of displacement, and consequently are hosted by developing countries.

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.

The Children’s Society has produced ‘From fear to safety: An exploration of the theological imperative to offer welcome to the stranger’, which explores why we need to provide places of safety for young refugees and unaccompanied asylum seekers.

The refugee crisis is the humanitarian emergency of our times, which is why The Children’s Society has formed a partnership with the Guardian to provide more refugee children with the one-to-one support and guidance they so desperately need. In 2015, over 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children arrived in the UK, finding themselves in a foreign land where they can’t speak the language, or understand how to do the very basics like find food and shelter. Refugee children arriving in this country are vulnerable, scared and in urgent need of help. Please help! Get info and donate here.

Prayer for peace in Syria

How long oh Lord? How long? We have been crying to you for peace in Syria; for an end to killing and despair, an end to hostilities on all sides. We thank you for the current cessation of hostilities and pray it may turn into a long lasting peace. We cry to you for humanitarian aid to reach those most in need. We beseech you for the rebuilding of ruined homes, businesses and communities. We long for the repairing of the breach and the restoration of streets where your children may dwell in harmony. We cry out that justice, truth and love may prevail for all the people of Syria. We pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for those in camps, private homes, churches and communities

Father, we ask your blessing on those who have fled into refugee camps, private homes, churches and communities. May they find the refuge they seek. We pray for those offering welcome to relatives, friends or strangers in their homes, churches and communities. We ask your wisdom for those working in camps and among displaced people wherever they are. Through their care, may your gifts of patience, freedom and hope be shared with all. We pray in the name of the Lord who is our hope, Jesus Christ. Amen.  

Prayer for refugees  

O Lord, who sees all things, you know the needs of refugees in all lands. We pray at this time particularly for those who have fled Syria and now live in homes, churches and camps in the region and across our continent of Europe. Watch over them. Give wisdom, generosity and boldness to all who make decisions about their welcome and their welfare, and to all whose hearts move them to offer help. May all Syrian refugees find true refuge. Amen  

Prayer for the Church in Syria  

Lord of the church, we pray for your blessing on our sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ in the churches of Syria. Uphold and sustain them. Keep them faithful to Jesus in the face of persecution, opposition, tragedy and turmoil. May they know the power of your Holy Spirit to be your people in, and for, their land and nation. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ the foundation and cornerstone of your holy church. Amen.

Click the video on the right to listen to Father Malcolm Bradshaw, of the Diocese of Europe, speaking during General Synod.

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.


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)

Lord of the journey,
We ask for your protection on all who have fled their homes.
Give them strength on their journeys and grant that they may
find places of compassion at which to rest.

Ease their fear as they throw in their lot with strangers
And keep alive their vision of finding a secure and welcoming home. Amen.


The Diocese of Canterbury has prepared a useful toolkit for supporting refugees which can be found here.

If you want to help those who are stuck in Calais:

Join the Facebook group where people are co-ordinating the aid they’re taking to Calais: Calais Migrant Solidarity Action From UK

Given our relationship with the Diocese of Evreux you might consider supporting Secours Catholique – Caritas France.

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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