Update: 16 September 2015
The suggestions below were included in the update that went out to Parishes last Thursday. Already many parishes are becoming involved in supporting refugees and migrants in their local communities, as well as continuing to focus on the crisis in Europe. Keep up the good work.
Pray for those who risk their lives to find safety from war and persecution. Pray for all who are working to meet the needs of the refugees in Europe and the Balkans. Pray for political leaders to have compassion and courage as they deal with this crisis.
Respond to the current need – donate. There are a number of charities/NGOs that are actively engaged on the ground in Europe trying to meet the present need. Examples include:
- Red Cross –Red Cross Mediterranean Refugee Crisis Appeal
- UNICEF – www.unicef.org.nz/syria
- UNHCR Syrian effort – http://donate.unhcr.org/syria
- Medecins Sans Frontiers – http://www.msf.org/topics/mediterranean-migration
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list – there are many NGOs working on this. There has been concern raised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, over the plight of Christian refugees at this time. Below is a list of more options:
Prepare – begin to build capacity. We are working with the Red Cross to find the best way to engage the support of our parishes with the work they carry out in resettling refugees. There will be more information on this later. But there are other community groups engaged in supporting the resettlement of refugees and migrants in our communities. Seek them out and get involved – what do they need? How can we help? For example:
- English Language Partners: their mission is to provide English language skills and social support for effective resettlement of refugees and migrants – http://englishlanguage.org.nz
More information is coming – until then do what you can!
On Saturday evening, Bishop Justin wrote to parishes and challenged them to accept responsibility for helping to settle one refugee family each.
Bishop Justin said “As the reality of the world’s refugee crisis has been brought into clear focus in recent days, we have all been moved with compassion for those whose situation is so desperate that they are prepared to give up all that they know and to risk their lives to find safety in a foreign land.”
Especially given the short time frames, the overwhelmingly positive response was a testament to the compassion and generosity of our family.
On Monday morning Archbishop Philip Richardson and Cardinal John Dew held a press conference to make it clear that the Church in New Zealand was prepared to provide the resources necessary to increase the number of refugees that the governments accepts. They referred to Wellington Diocese’s response and noted that if even half the parishes within the Anglican and Catholic communions made such a commitment then that would be 300 families or 1200 people. Bishop Justin went public with our commitment via a press release and was interviewed on the late news on TVNZ
We will be working hard over the coming weeks to provide parishes with resources to continue this important work. Processing of refugees by the UN takes time so it will be a while before there is an on the ground need that the government may ask us to help with. In the meantime we will be talking to the right agencies to ensure that any contribution is appropriate and effective. This information will be coming out to parishes and we will update you via Movement.
A big thank you from Bishop Justin and the leadership of the Diocese for the amazing response. Please continue to pray for the world’s refugees.