In a joint ecumenical initiative the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner and the Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton Diocese, Bishop Moth, recently issued a joint statement in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. (you can read that statement here)
Today, all three bishops in the diocese of Chichester have issued the following statement outlining further plans in responding to the needs of refugees.
Alongside our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, Chichester Diocese will work alongside the staff of Brighton Voices In Exile (BVIE)BVIE has nearly ten years’ experience of working with the refugees and asylum-seekers, from various countries, who have settled in Sussex. We believe they are best placed to coordinate practical help and to inform us of changing needs.
It is expected that those who arrive will have refugee status and that those who are able will seek work in our local economy.
One pressing need is likely to be that of affordable accommodation. BVIE is compiling a list of private landlords who are prepared to let properties at affordable rents but without requiring substantial deposits, which are beyond the means of people who have left everything behind them. If you have a property to let and would not require a deposit, please make contact with BVIE.
Another pressing need will be finance. BVIE is a charity and requires funding for its work with refugees, whether from Syria or elsewhere.
The bishops will be using their discretionary funds to support Syrian Refugees and the collections from ‘episcopal services’ such as Confirmations and Licensing Services over the next three years will be given in support of refugees.
In the longer term, we anticipate that those settling in Sussex will be supported through a number of agencies:
Food banks will remain open to those who need them and the churches are committed to support their work.
Church Schools will seek to offer a warm and gracious welcome to children who have come to live here.
Family Support Work is expecting to extend its services to those who come to us as refugees and will similarly need additional resourcing to meet that need.
Many of those fleeing Syria are Christians and the Churches of Sussex will naturally want to offer a warm welcome to their brothers and sisters, many of whom have suffered considerable trauma at home and through their journey to safety.
Five things you can do to respond:
1. Pray – for the people of Syria and Iraq and for all refugees and for all who are responding to their needs.
2. Offer accommodation – in property you can let without substantial deposit.
3. Offer & register skills - ability to speak relevant languages; TEFL ability, ability to offer legal assistance. Contact BVIE.
4. Make a financial contribution: Locally to:
or Nationally to:
Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org.uk/donate/
We invite you to consider the ways in which you can offer help and to make contact with the appropriate agencies.
+Martin Cicestr: +Mark Horsham +Richard Lewes