The recent images of refugees risking their lives in their desperate search for safety have been profoundly affecting and challenging for us all. Notwithstanding the political debates around responsibilities and solutions to the crisis, we know that our Christian imperative is to respond with compassion to the suffering of those in need. We are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34)
We know that many parishes want to know how they can help, so below are links to some of the projects in our diocese, many church-led, which are supporting asylum seekers and refugees in many ways, from food and clothing, to counselling and legal aid. Often working with very limited budgets, they need our support more than ever.
We also offer two prayers that churches may wish to use.
+ Nick, Leeds
+ Toby, Bradford
+ Jonathan, Huddersfield
+ Tony, Wakefield
+ James, Ripon
+ Paul, Richmond
A PRAYER FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES
Merciful God, your son was a refugee and shared the suffering of people fleeing from danger in fear and repression. You know what it is like to be hungry and afraid and have nowhere to call home.
God of the displaced, we pray for the safety of the refugees and ask that they will find a place of security. Protect them from those who would seek to exploit them and from danger.
God of hope, we thank you for those organisations who are working to bring relief and comfort to those displaced, showing glimpses of grace in the darkness of despair. God, give them strength.
God of justice, guide the nations and the leaders of the world towards peace; stir hearts to be generous and compassionate. God, help us to play our part in bringing about the change that we want to see.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Save the Children - Child Refugee Crisis Appeal.
The image used on the page banner is of a child refugee at an abandoned hotel that now serves as an informal refugee camp on the Greek island of Kos. Photo: Hedinn Halldorsson/Save the Children.
PROJECTS IN WEST YORKSHIRE & THE DALES
Working from St Aidan’s Harehills, PAFRAS provides humanitarian support for asylum seekers who are homeless, without food or money.
Meeting Point (at Christ Church, Armley)
Meeting Point works with around 100 refugees and asylum seekers helping meet needs relating to social integration, health, employment, family support or food provision.
Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network
Many Christians in Leeds work with LASSN, providing one-to-one befriending, hosts for short-term accommodation and one-to-one English.
Manuel Bravo Project
A Christian initiated project which helps asylum seekers who are unable to find adequate legal representation
An ecumenical group that offers a range of services including homes, language support and access to legal services.
Provide emergency accommodation at their Assessment Centre in Manningham and in volunteers' homes across Bradford.
Bradford Action for Refugees
Helping refugees avoid destitution, to be safe and to be respected and cared for in their local community.
Bradford Cathedral has a prayer station and is collecting clothing for Abigal Housing
St Paul's Church, Manningham, is also a collecting point for Convoy Calais
Churches Together in Meltham, Huddersfield have organised a collection point for Calais at the Carlile Insitute.
St Augustine's Centre, Halifax runs a service for refugees every Tuesday, 10-1pm. Find out more here or contact: 01422 342719 or firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in: St. Augustine's Centre, Hanson Lane, Halifax, HX1 5PG
Wakefield Cathedral has a prayer station and special facebook posting
City of Sanctuary Wakefield holds drop-ins and clothes stores for asylum seekers and refugees. Further details here.
Ripon Cathedral has a prayer station.
RETAS works throughout West Yorkshire, supporting asylum seekers and refugees in education, employment, requalification and integration.
Bradford, Wakefield, Leeds and Huddersfield are all Cities of Sanctuary
SUPPORT FOR THE CALAIS ‘JUNGLE’
Dean of York's statement, offering a refugee family accommodation in one of the Minster’s vacant properties.
Archbishop of Canterbury's Statement plus Radio 4 interview on CofE podcast
Church of England website page on asylum and immigration