Review: Refugees and the Church in 2015 and beyond

A Place at the Table
A Place at the Table campaign helps feed refugees and displaced families through a partnership with the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.

David Bradwell, who co-ordinates work with refugees offers us this roundup of his year's work:

If 2015 was the year when the Church at large woke up to the reality of the refugee catastrophe, I hope 2016 will be the year when we roll our sleeves up and act with refugees, for justice and peace.

I recently started a new role in the Church Offices ago as Refugee Co-ordinator.

I think it is commendable that the Church nationally has resolved to do something about the refugee crisis – it is a moral and theological imperative that we can answer the call of Jesus Christ in Matthew 25; to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the prisoner: for what we do for the least of those members of God's family we do for Christ.

Has the Church done enough? There have been some important initiatives, such as A Place at the Table, Outof Africa, Safe Passage . The Churches have also made public statements. And locally people have collected and donated goods, time, money and offered prayers.

But the reality is that the crisis has been with us for years and will not be solved overnight. The goodwill and charity of the Churchis not enough. We need to open our hearts and homes to those in need, and to strive for justice to overcome the causes of the massive uprooting of populations – war, terrorism, climate change and grinding poverty – as well as to put in places structures and processes which can support people with dignity as they seek to stay alive.

There are many things that local congregations and individual church members can do.

Prayer, and remembering the refugees in services is important.

Give, to A Place at the Table.

Act, with your local authority and local welcome refugee /migrant network

Open, your hearts and your homes and support the incredible work done by organisations across Scotland such as Positive Action in Housing, the Scottish Refugee Council,the British Red Cross, and others.

Tell, others what you are doing and let register offers of help on the Scotland Welcomes Refugees website.

I'd be happy to hear from anyone with a story to tell or idea they'd like to discuss. Please contact me and I'll be happy to arrange a visit to see you. dbradwell@churchofscotland.org.uk