St John Notting Hill, September 2015
REFUGEES FROM SYRIA & IRAQ – Responding from the Heart and with the Head
The Church of England has issued this prayer: “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 handsin 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 “
(a) Money. Christian Aid has launched a Refugee Crisis Appeal for the 4.1 million Syrians who have been forced to flee the country since the conflict broke out. See www.christianaid.org.uk/helprefugees, or the accompanying sheet.
(b) Clothes. Good clean and laundered clothes can be left at St John’s, and they will be sent to those in need, in Europe and the Middle East by Iraqi Christians in Need. http://www.icin.org.uk/
(i) Politically. The Government has appointed a Minister for Syrian Refugees, Richard Harringtn, MP. Pressure from Churches needs to be kept up for the Government to recognise that religious minority groups, especially Christians and Yezidis, are especially vulnerable. The Archbishop of Canterbury raised this in the House of Lords on Monday, 14th September. Write to your own MP, or to the Minister directly: Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org
(ii) In Housing. If you are aware of any empty properties which could be used for a refugee family, please let St John’s or your local Borough know, as strategic plans for housing begin to be drawn up.
(iii) By Keeping Informed. Use more than one broadcasting source to inform yourself, to avoid bias as much as possible. Remember that refugees and migrants are not one thing. Like anyone else, they come from a wide variety of backgrounds culturally, religiously, and educationally and all have different needs. Many will be significant contributors to their new countries very quickly.