In my sermon at the Parish Eucharist on Sunday September 6, (available here), I preached on the Epistle reading for the day, which contained this:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. James 2:14-17
In the sermon is I invited us to consider these words in the light of the current refugee crisis. As Christians, if we are to take these words seriously, the one thing we can’t do in the current crisis is nothing.
I said on September 6 that we would try to identify some different ways in which we can help. Below are some examples – please do consider how you can respond.
Although spare rooms are helpful, local governments are most in need of landlords to offer up family-sized rental properties in the UK. See:
Offer to Foster
Home for Good www.homeforgood.org.uk
There are millions of refugees across the Middle East, and many organisations are working with them, including:
Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FFRME) ffrme.org
Save the Children savethechildren.org
Refugee Council www.refugeecouncil.org.uk
Christian Aid www.christianaid.org.uk
Protest & lobby
There are a number of petitions online, which you can support if you wish to. For example:
You can also write to our MP, Caroline Dineage. Details at: caroline4gosport.co.uk
Give practical items
Although our first response might be to want to give practical items such as blankets etc., it would be much better to donate money to organisations working with refugees – see above. This is because it is not easy for us to get practical items to where they are needed, and secondly the refugees closest to us, those at Calais, are a small number (a few thousand) compared to the millions in camps elsewhere.
There are tables at the back of the church for donation of practical items, but please consider giving in other ways instead of doing this. If you do give in this way, we will endeavour to find a way to get it to refugees in need.
Pray for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, and for refugees:
you are the source of all goodness, generosity and love.
We thank you for opening the hearts of many
to those who are fleeing for their lives.
Help us now to open our arms in welcome,
and reach out our hands in support.
That the desperate may find new hope,
and lives torn apart be restored.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, Our Lord,
who fled persecution at His birth
and at His last triumphed over death. Amen.