A Statement from Bishop David Urquhart
‘If a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.’ James 2 v 15-17
Recently, Anglican churches up and down the country heard the challenge of James which reminds us that faith cannot live alongside either indifference to the needs of the poor and hungry or favouritism of those who are rich are powerful.
For some time now, policy on immigration has been made in the light of the economic prosperity of this country, limiting those who might initially cost the state resources. However at some moments in history the priority must shift to recognise our common humanity across boundaries and borders and respond to urgent need.
We are living in one of those moments in history and there is now a humanitarian crisis facing Europe. To meet the needs of people displaced by war, violence and conflict everybody is needed to work together and put in extra effort to make a response.
Birmingham has been greatly enriched by the contributions of people who have come to the city from different countries and continents. It has a reputation for being a place that welcomes people who seek to build a new life here, but there is more that we could do if we are prepared to go the extra mile. There are already refugees in Birmingham who need our help. Many of them lack shelter, work, food and clothing as well as human interaction and a sense of belonging.
Recent events have challenged our indifference and favouritism and released a wave of compassion and empathy. It is essential that we as Christians put our love of neighbour into practical action, working with people of all faiths and of good will to build courageously compassionate communities, to give generously of our time, money and energy and to deepen our discipleship by living our love of God by embracing the ‘stranger’ as our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Please consider how you can:
Birmingham is now recognised as a City of Sanctuary. To see a map of places you can help and ways you can get involved click here.
Befriend a refugee or asylum seeker. Please contact Restore through their website (Click for info).
Donate food, clothing, baby equipment. St Chad’s Sanctuary are appealing for men’s T-shirts ( Click for info); while Narthex need children’s clothes and baby equipment (Click for info) Narthex also run a foodbank in Sparkhill – many local foodbanks will help refugees and asylum seekers.
Keep yourself informed about Government policy. Sign petitions and lobby your MPs where necessary.
Stay aware and remember all who are displaced in your prayers.
We don’t know everything - let us know if we have missed off any group offering support to asylum seekers and refugees who need our support. Email: SteveS@cofebirmingham.com