The news this week that Australia will resettle 12,000 refugees from Syria is a welcome decision.
In response, our Archbishop has called upon all parishes, not only to pray for these victims of persecution, but to step up and be prepared to do whatever is within their power to provide a warm and generous welcome, coupled with practical assistance, to ensure that those who come to find safety in Australia are afforded the best possible chance to make a new start and benefit as fully as possible from the peace, freedom and opportunity Australia offers.
He has asked our diocesan organisations to come together to assist in any way with goods in kind, funds, educational and personal and accommodation.
In response, Anglicare will assist with food and clothing, as well as language training. Youthworks has offered interim accommodation for up to 400 refugees, plus special camps for kids. Anglican Deaconess Ministries, has offered to champion a ‘one parish, one refugee family’ approach, helping coordinate our churches as we provide a warm and friendly welcome to refugees.The Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation and Anglican Retirement Villages have also indicated their willingness to mobilise students, residents and other stakeholders to provide assistance.
Our Archbishop reminds us that our ability to show love and mercy and provide a warm welcome to anyone regardless of their faith must serve as a counterpoint to the brutality of IS and as an expression of the love of God for all humanity: “Our response needs to be immediate, generous and unquestioning with regard to race, ethnicity or religion.”
Let us pray that God would give us the wisdom and resources to respond enthusiastically to this challenge.