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September 2015


Re: A united Christian Council to support victims of the crisis in Syria and its neighbours
For some time work has been underway to create a new body to explore and study the concern of Christians in this country for the victims of a terrible, and escalating, conflict in Syria and its neighbouring states. These efforts have the firm encouragement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. The body has liaised with various, existing authorities and organisations, inside the churches and outside. Equally, it has begun to represent the commitment of Christians from all walks of life who have been shocked to find themselves witnessing a defining humanitarian disaster of our time.
It is simply because we live in freedom, peace and security in this country that we owe a particular duty to those whose lives have been devastated by the traumas of relentless conflict and a desperate flight in search for a safe new home. While the Government policy of resettling refugees continues to evolve we can all exercise a very real measure of Christian responsibility. It is clear that the making of a just and compassionate public policy, both national and local, will be influenced if significant numbers of us show that we are prepared to play our part.
Across all the churches we must assess clearly what we have to offer. We have prayer, money, goodwill. A detached observer might quickly see that we also have tangible things to offer ; in places at our church schools, colleges and universities ; in the ongoing various social organisations, in under-used buildings which might offer accommodation (temporary or for longer periods); in quite informal pastoral networks which may visit and reassure new arrivals. We know that a great deal of sympathetic experience and knowledge is to be found in the congregations themselves; amongst retired school teachers who might help to teach English to adults and children or support them in learning new skills; amongst school and college students who can inspire each other and think and work together.
If this overall sense of resources can be put together in a coherent framework, and effectively fostered, it would be a vital step at a crucial moment. Then we can hope to build   a national response in which isolated individuals, moved to act, may find each other; in which local initiatives may teach each other ; and from which the various elements of policy and public goodwill may grow together with confidence.
A full statement will be released shortly.
But while we work as quickly as possible to establish our mandate and objects we would very much welcome your support. If you would like to know more, if you are interested in helping in your own church and area, or if you have have news to share, please write to us at the following address:
United Christian Council
c/o George Bell House,
4 Canon Lane
Chichester
PO19 1PX or A.Chandler@chi.ac.uk
Andrew Chandler (Dr)

Re: British Baptists offer space for Syrian refugees
Just a shame they can't be bothered to host the homeless. It seems they don't matter.
Brenda Evans

Re: Austrian Migrant Deaths

Shocking news about the deaths of 71 migrants on an Austrian motorway tear my heart apart with sorrow. What on earth is taking place when this kind of cruelty is allowed to happen in Europe? Something ought to be done within a matter of weeks to ensure that we do not continue to see the horrors that are claiming lives of migrants. We do not need migrants in Europe but we do not want them to die in those unthinkable conditions let alone in our soils. These men, women and children are like us as they are all human beings.
Where are politicians, security systems and justice when Europe is slowly becoming a bloodbath of migrants? I find it hard to fathom how 71 people can be slaughtered in such conditions? We have gone far too much in boycotting cruelty to animals. Why can’t we unite from electorates, human rights activists, churches, civil societies and animal rights activists and demonstrate against such disasters? We should desist from speculating that migrants wants to better their lives. There is definitely something more than economic benefits which is causing men, women, children to leave their homelands taking dangerous journeys to Europe.
This is similar to what is going on in Zimbabwe where thousands of Zimbabweans are fleeing the country escaping from the unjust political party led by Robert Mugabe. Instead of being embraced and being protected, many have been tortured, burnt alive and slaughtered as they are seen as intruders and outsiders in South Africa. I believe that everyone in the world deserves to feel safe and live in an environment which is secure and not life threatening. I believe that all countries with resources like what Germany announced recently have a moral duty to help and protect people whatever backgrounds. Let’s all be united and work together to ensure that migrants will not die in such despicable circumstances.
Michael Tinarwo

Re: Nothing is impossible with Him
Your Facebook sign is FANTASTIC - I may well copy it..... well they say plagiarism is the best form of flattery right? Isn't that what they teach in these theological colleges?
A hugely encouraging story - would be good to share more "small church tales".
Chris Goswami
 
Re: The pigeon: a metaphor for the Holy Spirit?
One Sunday evening several years ago, I was learning Romanian from a children's book of birds, which included both doves and pigeons. I then picked up a Romanian bible and read the story of Jesus' baptism and found the word they used was the one for pigeon. Thanks, Ruth, for an article expanding my understanding.
Pete Evens

I absolutely love this article, and will be sharing it with my church (one of whom kept pigeons as a boy, so I know it will speak to him!). Thank you so much, Ruth.
Carolyn Schofield

 

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