Our friends at Upton Vale Baptist Church have produced this excellent resource to help Christians in Torbay and elsewhere come to terms with whatever part we can play in this unfolding tragedy. With thanks to Rev. Graham McBain at UV for the following:
"We’ve all seen pictures of the boats filled with exhausted and scared refugees who are hoping for security in countries in central Europe. Over 100,000 refugees have survived the journey but hundreds have perished in the attempt. We are witnessing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis a lot closer to home than we have ever expected as we think of the situation in Calais as people desperately try to enter our country. Over the last few days we have been thinking and praying about how Upton Vale can respond in a compassionate, practical and biblical way to help those fleeing atrocities in their home country for a better life.
We have spoken with a lot of people and been in contact with a number of charities and agencies and below are some suggestions to how we can best respond through charities and agencies that we recommend and support.
Home For Good have produced a practical balanced and well informed 5 minute film that helps us discover how we can make a real and lasting difference to the current refugee crisis https://vimeo.com/138377742
Below are the 5 ways in which we can respond to the Refugee Crisis:
1. Pray: 24-7 Prayer
We believe in a God who can change governments and circumstances. Lets pray for His power to intervene in this current refugee crisis.
The 24-7 Prayer initiative encourages people to sign up to an ongoing prayer community committed to praying for the refugees. Why not have a look at the website and sign up online https://www.24-7prayer.com/blog/2505/the-refugee-crisis-we-don-t-know-the-answer-but-we-know-we-have-to-pray
2. Connect: Citizen UK
Some of us have properties that can be made available to local councils for the housing of refugees. If you would like to know more about how you can use your home as part of a long term solution then contact and register online with Citizen UK http://www.citizensuk.org/help_find_homes_for_syrian_refugees
3. Foster: Home For Good
Could your family think about becoming foster carers to help the growing number of unaccompanied children fleeing from crisis who don’t have family with them and need a loving and supporting ongoing family? If this long term commitment solution appeals to you then visit the Home For Good website and complete their contact form http://www.homeforgood.org.uk/respond/
4. Give Financially: Open Doors and Tearfund
Open Doors already have an emergency appeal and a long track record of working with persecuted Christians and they have people on the ground in Syria. To find out more and to give directly to them please visit http://www.opendoorsuk.org/churches/index.php?ref=story2
Tearfund have launched a new Emergency Fund to bring desperately needed help and support. For some time already, Tearfund has been working with partners in many of the affected nations from where the refugees are coming. Now they are partnering with church groups in Europe, enabling them to offer care, support and aid to those that have already fled and are in huge need. To find out more and to give directly to them please visit http://www.tearfund.org/en/refugeecrisis/
[Additionally, we would also add Christian Aid to this list, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk/ and follow links].
If you would like to contribute to either of these charities via Barton Baptist Church, then please put your gift in an envelope marked 'Refugee Crisis' and put this in the collection on a Sunday morning. The monies received will be split and sent onto Open Doors and Tearfund. Please also ask us about Gift Aid if you are a tax payer. If you have any finance questions please contact a member of the Finance Team.
5. Give Practically: Devon Humanitarian Aid
It is a human urge to need to do something when faced with tragedy, but it is important we do what is helpful and not cause further difficulties. It is also important not to make the Calais camp a tourist site.
Devon Humanitarian Aid are working closely with ‘L'Auberge Des Migrants’ and other Charities active in Calais and are organising collection points around Torquay for people to donate to. For up to date information on collection points and current needs please visit their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/414619755407999/?fref=ts
Jesus continually reminds us to care for the weak and stand up for the vulnerable, this includes the refugees we see on our screens and read about in our newspapers. The five ideas above are a practical, compassionate response through the agencies already at work in this complex situation. Lets continue to support them, and pray for peace and to be challenged into action."
Additionally, Revd Lynn Green, the Baptist Union General Secretary has written a helpful article with more practical ways we as Christians can respond. The link for the article can be found at the bottom of the page.
Baptists join call for a co-ordinated response to refugee crisis
Local church members encouraged to add support to Citizens UK's case for a Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Board
Baptist Union General Secretary the Revd Lynn Green has joined religious and community leaders who are calling upon the British Government to implement a co-ordinated and managed response to the growing refugee crisis across Europe.
As the scale of the current crisis began to emerge, Baptist minister and Urban Expression Co-ordinator Juliet Kilpin used social media to invite Baptist Christians to offer accommodation and refuge to those in need.
It quickly emerged that not only was there a spirit of openness and
generosity among Baptists, but that an initiative like this would also
need careful co-ordination and monitoring.
In discussing some of these practical issues with similar groups and activists, the common concern at a potential lack of co-ordination and appropriate support infrastructure has increasingly come to the fore. The organisation Citizens UK, with whom Baptists Together have been in ongoing conversation, are encouraging individuals and groups to make these concerns known.
Citizens UK is a longstanding consortium of community and faith groups who, in response to the outpouring of public support for Syrian refugees, are proposing the formation of two new bodies to enable civil society and the private sector to play an effective role, alongside local and national government and their partners, in refugee resettlement:
- A National Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Board; and
- Local Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Committees.
Local Baptists are now invited to add their own voices to this growing call for a properly co-ordinated and managed resettlement programme and to contact their MPs and MEPs to urge them to support the formation of settlement boards.
Lynn Green said, 'There has already been an overwhelming response of generosity and concern expressed by Baptists across the United Kingdom.
'It is natural that we want support this by playing our part as Baptists Together, in assisting with the important task of ensuring that these along with other offers of help are appropriately developed and co-ordinated. Citizens UK have provided us with an opportunity to work with a broad spectrum of partner organisations in a cause that reflects our own Kingdom-rooted values.'
The Revd Phil Jump, a Baptist member of the Joint Public Issues Team added, 'We recognise the breadth of reactions to the current refugee crisis, but I suggest that no-one would argue that wherever help and support is forthcoming, it needs to be carefully and properly managed.
'There is a clear need for a politically-neutral, properly recognised body that can draw together the resources, expertise and support networks that are currently being offered.
'I hope that Baptists across the UK will want to join in the call for such a body to be established as a matter of urgency.'
Please contact your MPs to call for a National Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Board.