As I write this, the people of Haiti are suffering the terrible consequences of an earthquake and, of course, we are all shocked at the plight of the Afghan people. Last week Chelmsford Diocese offered their support:
Our Diocese is committed to supporting refugees and, since 2015, the Diocese of Chelmsford has resettled almost 200 refugees through their resettlement program. Most have been families fleeing the Syrian conflict, but a number have been Afghan interpreters and their families fleeing the Taliban.
As pictures of the catastrophic impact of the crisis in Afghanistan fill our TV screens, the human cost in lives devastated seems too much to comprehend, and many of us are left wondering what we can do to help in the face of such great tragedy.
Committed to serving Christ in the downtrodden, persecuted and oppressed, and to witnessing to the transforming presence of Christ in the midst of the seemingly impossible, our Diocese continues to stand ready to do all that we can to serve and support refugees in our parishes across East London and Essex, and those communities seeking to walk alongside displaced people.
The Diocesan Refugee Engagement Team is ready and resourced to support parishes in welcoming and supporting Afghan refugees over the coming months and years, and to building on the life changing work already done since 2015.
As the Government program for Afghan resettlement becomes clearer over the coming weeks, our own diocesan program will be widened and reshaped to work alongside partners in providing the care, love and support to which the gospel calls us.
Our response to situations like this is as much our worship as our services on Sunday. As a family, we have offered accommodation should it be needed. If this is something you might feel able to do, please do let me know and I can pass on your details to the Diocesan Refugee Coordinator, should a request come. I will also keep you updated with any other Diocesan appeals and ways in which we can help. Alternatively, the organisation, Positive Action for Housing gives some suggestions:
If you or someone you know, wants to offer a spare room or property temporarily to someone from a refugee background, please visit https://www.roomforrefugees.com.
You can fill in the form, at https://paih.typeform.com/to/dl4g60.
You can give by going to https://www.paih.org/donate/
Or go to the Government website at How you can help refugees coming to the UK – Ways to help refugees arriving in Britain (campaign.gov.uk)
You may, also, like to use this prayer in your own personal devotions.
Your hands have fashioned every lovely corner of this treasured planet, and the beautiful land of Afghanistan is as precious as every other place your children call ‘home’.
By its rivers and mountains, its fields and gardens, its busy towns and ancient villages, it is the heart’s desire of its people and the place where their lives and loves are nurtured.
We grieve today with those who grieve over Afghanistan, the people who call it home indeed, the people exiled or suddenly having to leave, and the men and women from other countries who have made sacrifices in recent years in the cause of that country’s future.
We remember with renewed sadness the loss of lives of military personnel during the years of this country’s involvement in Afghanistan, conscious of the questions that must today be troubling the minds of those in our community who were bereaved, those who were wounded on operations, and those who were forever changed by experiences suffered there.
We pray for peace, dignity, freedom and confidence for the men, women and children of Afghanistan; for courage, vision and generosity within the international community responding to such need; and for tranquillity of mind amongst our own service community and its wider family. In the name of Jesus Christ, the peace-giver, we pray, Amen.
As ever, take care and God bless and I look forward to seeing you soon.