A Syrian refugee: (C) Open Doors

A Syrian refugee: (C) Open Doors

STATEMENT BY THE ACTING BISHOP OF OXFORD

The Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester, said:

“I have been greatly encouraged by the response of so many individuals, churches, and charities to the tragedy currently unfolding before our eyes in the Middle East.

“Churches have provided sanctuary for many thousands of people down the centuries and this country too has had a proud record of responding positively to those in greatest need.

Each of us may not be able to do that much by ourselves but, as we are seeing increasingly, by working together we can make a real difference

“May I encourage our churches to follow Archbishop Justin’s call for a holistic response?

“At present, this could include three things in particular. First, supporting people in the Middle East through the agencies on the ground. The situation is critical in countries like Lebanon, which is hosting more than a million refugees. Second, supporting those churches and agencies that are working directly to help refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.

“And third, work with established organisations such as Asylum Welcome and the City of Sanctuary groups, as well as local councils, to find out how we can best offer hospitality.”

Please note: Bishop Andrew is the lead bishop in the Diocese of Oxford on this issue. See an update here.

How can you help?

Many churches want to help alleviate suffering in the current refugee crisis. The recommendation of the Diocese is that individuals and parishes work through established agencies who are expert in this field.

Donations to the Bishop of Oxford’s Outreach Fund are also being used to support those working to alleviate the crisis. If you want to give to the Bishop’s Outreach Fund you can send in a cheque to the Finance Department at Diocesan Church House, payable to ODBF Administered Funds,  but please include a note indicating that this is for the Outreach Fund and specifically for the refugees.

Below is a list of organisations working in this field. The list is, of course, not exhaustive.

Please see the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Briefing Note Sept 15 for safeguarding advice.

The Diocese of Leicester has created a Resources for Christians thinking about migration which offers some useful pointers for theological reflection.

How is your church helping?

If your parish is supporting refugees please contact Jo Duckles so that we can share your story here.

Prayers

You may like to use the materials for Racial Justice Sunday (13 September) which have the theme “Hospitality and Sanctuary for All”.

The Church of England’s Prayer for the crisis:

Heavenly Father,
you are the source of all goodness, generosity and love.
We thank you for opening the hearts of many
to those who are fleeing for their lives.
Help us now to open our arms in welcome,
and reach out our hands in support.
That the desperate may find new hope,
and lives torn apart be restored.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, Our Lord,
who fled persecution at His birth
and at His last triumphed over death.
Amen