Safe and Welcome: A Christian response to refugees and asylum seekers
Letter from Global Aware Bristol Sept 2016
We the undersigned, as leaders in the Church in Bristol, recognising the significance of this time in our history as a nation & a city, write to encourage those who are part of the Christian community in Bristol to a focused & renewed effort in loving our neighbours.
We are concerned to read & hear of increases in race-hate crime; in reports of communities divided; and in the concerns of those who no longer feel welcomed amongst us.
We recognise the proud history & dynamic role of civil society in Bristol to celebrate our diversity & in particular to welcome strangers.
We rejoice in Bristol’s commitment to be a ‘City of Sanctuary’ & we are proud of all the citizens & church members who contribute with such energy to that reality.
We are reminded as Christians of Jesus’ command to love our neighbour as ourselves, and of his explanation of that reality told in the now famous story of the good Samaritan: the kindness of a foreigner, the sometimes indifference of passers-by, and the need to practically care for those who find themselves the victim of circumstance.
We note the joint statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury & York on 24th June:
“As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.”
As leaders of the church in Bristol we write to endorse those words; to thank you for all you do in this regard; and to call the churches & Christians in our care to a renewed effort at this particular time.
We would commend to you, and ask you to publicise to others:
Safe and Welcome; a Christian response to refugees and asylum seekers
A Global Aware event aiming to deepen church and community involvement with local refugees, on Thursday 13th October from 7.00pm at Easton Christian Family Centre, See below. For information and booking: http://safeandwelcome.eventbrite.co.uk
A new campaign seeking to improve the media’s portrayal of refugees: http://www2.christianaid.org.uk/change-the-story
The excellent Bristol based charities who are working to create safe and welcoming communities for all, many of whom will be exhibiting at the Safe and Welcome. You can find out more by emailing the Global Aware team: bglobalaware a_t gmail d_o_t com.
We look forward to hearing your stories, as with you we pray for the precious city of Bristol; that all may be welcome here and know peace.
Bishop Renford Brown: Chair, Bristol Black Churches Council)
Revd Nigel Coles: Senior Regional Minister, West of England Baptist Association
Majors Ian and Jean Harris: Divisional Commander, Severn and Somerset Division, Salvation Army
Revd Dr Jonathan Pye: Chair, Bristol Methodist District.
The Rt Revd Mike Hill: Bishop of Bristol, Diocese of Bristol
The Rt Revd Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, Clifton Diocese
Rob Scott-Cook: Celebration Network of churches and Woodlands Group of churches
Revd Ruth Whitehead: Moderator, South Western Synod, URC
Thu 13 Oct - Safe and Welcome: A Christian response to refugees and asylum seekers
Thursday 13th October 2016, opens 7pm, starts 7:30pm
Easton Christian Family Centre, Beaufort Street, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0SQ