As we begin Lent, Bishop Richard Pain is asking us to extend a hand of friendship to refugees living in our communities.
Bishop Richard, says: “Last year, we committed ourselves to raise money for local mission and may I say a big ‘thank you’ for the money raised. This year, I want us to look outward, to show our mission y being compassionate. This is what Jesus did when he saw the crowd, being harassed and helpless. His heart went out to them.”
Where possible, the Appeal will aid those refugees who live in the local community and the Bishop has already met with groups which engage in supporting and befriending refugees and also with refugees themselves.
These refugees rely on aid of the most basic kind – even getting the bus fare to attend college is beyond their budget.
There are churches and other local charities who are working in the area to welcome and care for these strangers in our midst, who are not really strangers but rather our brothers and sisters.
Bishop Richard, says: “It is in the DNA of Christians to care for those who are strangers.
“They may be the homeless, the abused, the outsider or, in our age of great migration, the refugee. God, having been a refugee, knows what it is like to be persecuted and also what it is like to be safe, secure and welcomed.”
Further details of the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal will available in the coming weeks.
Fatema is 17 years old, smart and clever and wants to be a psychologist when she is a ‘grown up’. She speaks five languages, but needs to improve her English and is studying in Newport.
Fatema is a refugee who has escaped from her home in Eritrea, which has some of the worst human rights violations in the world. Particularly affected are the young, who are exploited by the so-called ‘military service’. Fatema describes her life-threatening journey to the UK, encompassing walking three days to reach Sudan which was followed by five days and nights of walking into Egypt where she managed to find passage on a boat filled with 500 adults and 200 children also fleeing for their safety. They travelled for nine days with no food and no water, surrounded by fighting and death aboard the boat. Once back on land, Fatema made her way across Europe to the UK. Now she is safe, but sadly separated from her family, whom she is very concerned about.
Pic cap: Bishop Richard meets with refugees and some of the charities which help them.