It is hard to know how to respond to the current Syrian migrant situation, but we are able to help in some small ways.
The West End Refugee Service (WERS) in Newcastle gives the following advice:
- To lobby the UK Government to take a larger quota of Syrian refugees than has been pledged.
- To prepare as churches to support families when they arrive. It is anticipated that individuals and faith groups could help in some way, possibly with offering food and other basic necessities.
- To support asylum seekers already in the country so that they are not neglected in favour of refugees from Syria.
A meeting held in Newcastle Civic Centre showed that Newcastle expects to take in 10 families, approximately 50 people in all. This could, of course, increase if people do lobby the Government to take more. Please send petitions/letters via your own M.P. to ask that this quota be increased. And, of course, there will be more cities and towns across our Synod where Councils will be expected to accommodate Syrian refugees.
Synod Mission Committee agreed that our Moderator should launch a Synod appeal for money to be held for use in the main by WERS and other agencies across the synod when families do arrive.
I have also learned that Samaritan’s Purse, which launches Operation Christmas Child each year, will this year donate shoeboxes to Syrian children in camps in Iraq and also across Europe. For more information, please contact www.samaritans-purse.org.uk.
And, of course, there is always prayer. Church Leaders from across the region have sent out information including a prayer to be used in our churches. But, of course, individuals and congregations are invited to pray as the situation develops.
Revd Meg Robb
Convenor, Synod Mission Committee