Friday, September 11, 2015

Response to Refugee Crisis - this Sunday

From: Ben Oliver (last one, I promise!)

Following the tragic scenes of hundreds of thousands of refugees attempting to flee to Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other countries, many of us have been asking what we can do to help make a difference.

A number of our contacts & partner organisations have mobilised a response to the situation and we wanted to get behind them in 3 practical ways:
Firstly, we can give our money. We’re going to have the opportunity to do that this coming Sunday with a Gift Day offering that will go in equal proportions to two different partners:
  1. 50% will go to our partners at Tearfund – they’ve 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.
  2. The other 50% will go to a church we’ve met in recent months through a leadership training network. This church is based in Munich, Germany, and they wrote to us this week to let us know how the crisis is directly affecting them and what they’re doing about it. Tobi is the leader of ICF Munich – he writes:

  3. “Currently we have different teams that are at the central station of Munich to welcome refugees and to help them get to their registration or to connecting trains or emergency camps. They’re also distributing food & drinks. We have also lots of teams in the arrival centres and refugees camps throughout the city and are working on a long-term relationship with refugees. As the camps are overcrowded the basic needs are clothes, food, medicine and doctors. 

    On Sundays
    we are welcoming more and more refugees in our celebrations and many are touched by Jesus. It’s great how Jesus opens their hearts.
    We want to start in October our own language course program for refugees, internationals and all others in the church for further integration and development. Here we still need some equipment and volunteers. Furthermore we dream of a trauma program in order to not only help the refugees with material things (clothes, food, ...) but to help them trying to cope with the things they have experienced and to heal in a way that leads to Jesus. Here we need a team, equipment and finances to bring a new person in staff. These are our current prayer requests.”

Secondly, our friends at Home for Good are asking churches across the UK: could your family think about becoming Foster Carers to help the increased number of unaccompanied minors – children fleeing from crisis that don’t have family with them – that need a loving and supporting ongoing family? Home for Good work with many local authorities across the UK and are compiling a database of people who have space in their homes and may be interested in exploring further the possibility of fostering unaccompanied asylum-seeking children for a few days in an emergency, short term or long term. They have up-to-date information on their website available here.

Thirdly, we can all pray – God can change governments and can change circumstances. Let’s call his power to intervene in this circumstance. Not just in Europe, but in the countries from where these people have been displaced. If you’d like ideas of how to pray, look at the 24-7 prayer website & blog. We'll be praying on Sunday, too.

I'll finish by quoting Krish Kandiah, from Home for Good (who has spoken to the Kerith Community before). He says:

“We’re called to give refuge to the refugees. Not a knee jerk reaction, but a response that demonstrates we’re in it for the long haul. Whatever you do, do something. We can’t sit idly by while this tragedy unfolds around us. But together we really can make a difference – a long term difference. May God bless you in what you do.”

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