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Yorkshire's response to the refugee crisis

As part of a Yorkshire-wide response to the refugee crisis the Yorkshire Baptist Association is encouraging its churches to financially and prayerfully support Baptists working in Lebanon

Syrianchildren500In a letter to all the Association's churches, regional ministers Graham Ensor and Mary Taylor and the YBA staff team highlighted the work of the Lebanese Baptist Society (LSESD), which has been helping refugees since the outset of the conflict in 2011.

They recognised that many in the YBA churches have prayed for the thousands of refugees displaced by the war and raised money for charities which are supporting them. Some in the churches are also involved in supporting asylum seekers in the UK and offering accommodation such as City of Sanctuary and Citizens UK.

‘If you have already found a way as a church to respond to this refugee crisis that is great,’ Mary and Graham wrote.

‘If you are seeking a way to make a substantial difference where the need is greatest we’d like to offer a Yorkshire Baptist response.’

LSESD’s humanitarian response to the current crisis currently extends to food aid to nearly 6,000 displaced families in Syria, and more than 2,000 Syrian refugee families in Lebanon, as well as providing education, health care and distribution of basic provisions such as milk, nappies, hygiene kits, blankets and mattresses.

The work is “24/7” according to Nabil Costa, LSESD Executive Director, and as such there are lots of ways to help, he told the YBA.   

'Sure we need every prayer, for protection, for strength, for resources, and we welcome any visit - you can come our way, you can join us in the blessing of ministry. Also we will be happy to receive any donations.

‘We are working a lot with refugee kids, and working on their special needs and education in general.'

In their letter to YBA churches, Graham and Mary explained how the focus on LSESD would work.

‘So we’d like to do this. We’d like to share news, needs for prayer and also encourage you in your giving.

‘As we come towards Christmas, many churches organise or get involved with events that fund-raise for a whole range of charities. Would your church consider this year specifically praying, caring and giving as partners alongside our Lebanese brothers and sisters?

‘Maybe you could donate your Christmas Day offering to this relief work?’
‘We’ll link our participation to an Advent series of reflections and stories with a daily tweet and hopefully be able to share together how our compassionate God is active through us as His people.’

There is an initial focus over Advent, but this could move into a longer-term commitment of support.

Baptist Times, 01/12/2015
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