Updated: Mar 23
Show Your Heart
What is happening in and around Ukraine has once again raised the experience for so many in the world of being forced to leave homes and seek welcome in other nations. We worship a God who is the source of all hope and calls his people to "show hospitality to strangers". For some this might mean opening up our homes, but it also means advocating for a kinder, more humane approach to refugees arriving in our country.
On Sunday we were able to mark our solidarity with refugees along with the Bishop of Leicester and the Bishop of Loughborough and other faith and community groups around the country. The Orange Heart picks up the colour of lifebelts and the Refugee flag created for the 2016 Olympics and as symbol of support for those seeking asylum and is being used to ask the government to accept amendments to the Nationality and Borders bill to ensure that we don't criminalise those seek refuge and those coming to their aid.
A Prayer for Refugees
Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day
when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Together with Refugees gives more information about the campaign.
The Church of England toolkit gives a more detailed picture of how we can support Ukrainian refugees
And if you're interested in meeting with Matthew or others from the church to discuss how we can be hospitable, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07488 812315
Please do not give items to collections for families in Ukraine - trucks carrying aid are getting snarled up at the borders, and it is better to give money than items. Please consider donating to one of the following:
As you may be aware, the government are introducing provision to allow named refugees to be 'sponsored'. This scheme has the potential to allow for an unlimited number of refugees to be housed, but it depends on the goodwill of households (who will be offered a £350/month from the government).
If you are interested in registering for the scheme, details can be found here
However, unless you already have a contact (eg. a family member) who is seeking sponsorship, we would recommend you express your interest via one of the following organisations:
Sanctuary Foundation - Set up by Krish Kandiah as a way for individuals and communities (especially churches) to support refugees.
RESET - A government-supported charity, working to match Ukrainians with potential sponsors
We are awaiting the outcome of votes on amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill. This bill has been widely condemned by Christian leaders, including our bishops, Martyn and Saju. The bill will essentially criminalise those who seek asylum in the UK through 'irregular' routes, and will withdraw their rights and dignity as they await the outcome of their claim. Regardless of the outcome, if you feel strongly about this issue, I would encourage you to write to your MP (in Thurnby, that's Alicia Kearn).
You may also want to consider supporting Leicester City of Sanctuary.