Refugee Week: 20-27 June 2022
For a year, the Diocese of Oxford has been supporting newly arrived people from Hong Kong to learn English online. Many people arriving from Ukraine have now joined our lessons, along with others also seeking safety in this country. We desperately need people able to support this online learning. Please get in touch with the Revd Canon Liz Jackson and complete this form to register your support.
More than 14 million people fled their homes in Ukraine following the Russian invasion. Almost seven million have left for neighbouring countries, with another eight million who are displaced within Ukraine itself. However, in cities like Kyiv where Russian forces are no longer targeting, millions have also been returning home.
The Diocese of Oxford is working with Citizens UK to resettle Ukrainian refugees in our diocese through the UK government's Homes for Ukraine scheme. As of 14 June, 79 matches between hosts in the diocese and Ukrainian groups/individuals have been made. This equates to 116 Ukrainian refugee individuals.
You can still help. See how...
How do we, as Christians, think about migration and forced migration?
Over recent decades we’ve seen an extraordinary increase in the movement of people across countries. Some movement has been by choice — people pursuing new job opportunities or relationships. Some has not been by choice — people fleeing areas where resources are no longer sufficient to sustain life, or where persecution and war threaten lives and livelihoods.
What questions does it raise about identity — who we are and how we define ourselves? About our obligations to our fellow humans? About the relationship between the individual, faith, and the state?
The importance of welcoming the stranger is a thread that runs right through the Christian message. It's heartbreaking watching families desperately seeking safety - but there is something we can do.
Your church can help settle families in need through Community Sponsorship, a UN and Home Office-approved scheme. The Revd Alyson Peberdy shares how St Michael and All Angels, Summertown, recently did just that.
Take the first step and contact Reset today.
Many churches will be looking for ways to explore these issues theologically and in terms of policy; others will be hoping to take practical action — perhaps through supporting refugees. The resources below offer guidance in these areas.
- Church of England page on migration, including guidance for clergy on supporting asylum seekers.
- Supporting Refugees: A Guide for Oxfordshire Churches (Christian Concern for One World, 2020) — brief introduction to eight organisations that can help churches support refugees.
Find out more
- Churches Refugee Network — the leading network for churches that want to pray and act in support of refugees and discuss questions relating to refugee policy.
- Christian Concern for One World (CCOW) — networks and supports Thames Valley churches and community groups who want to offer support to refugees.
- Centre on Migration, Policy and Society — Oxford University centre that 'conducts high quality research, develops theory and facilitates knowledge exchange in the field of migration'.
- Joint Public Issues Team — collaborative effort by Baptist, Church of Scotland, Methodist, and URC churches, working together for peace and justice. Excellent section on migration and asylum.
- Migrant Voice — a migrant-led organisation established to develop the skills, capacity and confidence of members of migrant communities, including asylum seekers.
- Refugee Council — works nationally to support refugees and to advocate on questions that affect refugees.
- Welcome Churches - Welcome Churches offers training and support to help your church to be a welcoming community for refugees.
- Reading Refugee Support Group — Solicitor and volunteer caseworkers offer confidential advice and support; language classes and a homework club; initiatives to promote integration.
- Asylum Welcome (Oxfordshire) — supports asylum seekers and refugees, including unaccompanied children. They host a Welcome Centre, and provide community information and a sending address for letters. They also provide advice on the immigration process, and host women’s and men’s groups.
- Refugee Resource (Oxfordshire) — supports refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable migrants by providing psychological, social, and practical support. They also work with the Citizens Advice Bureau and immigration solicitors.
- Open Door Oxford — a drop-in service for refugees and asylum seekers run by volunteers offering advice, information, support, recreational activities and a free lunch.
- Sanctuary Hosting — helps refugees and vulnerable migrants find options for independent living across the Thames Valley, including finding host families.
You crossed from heaven to earth,
Laying aside your equality with God,
Humbling yourself because of your love for us.
Your parents fled with you from persecution,
Carrying you in their arms along dusty roads,
Uncertain what was ahead.
You wandered as a teacher,
Breaking boundaries in the people you talked with
And healed… and loved.
You are with us now
In our world in motion.
We lift before you
All who are fleeing persecution and war
Knowing your love for them and your power to heal and comfort.
In this changing world,
Help all people to recognise your image in each person
And to remember each is precious in your sight.
Guide those in authority
To make decisions about migration
That honour each person’s humanity.
Help us to offer welcome to new neighbours,
Seeing you in the person we greet.
Break down the barriers of hostility
That keep us apart
And diminish our humanity.
We ask these things
Trusting in your infinite love.