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Actions needed to back church lead on refugees

12 December 2014


From the Revd Larry Wright

Sir, - Those bishops calling for more Syrian refugees to be resettled in the UK (News, 5 December) are to be applauded, while the response of our Government is lamented. In the face of such an overwhelming humanitarian crisis, however, passionate calls for government action might be more credible if the Church offered to be part of the solution.

State resistance to welcoming more refugees (from anywhere) is affected by current political considerations, and the additional strain that they will put on local services such as education, medical care, and - the most vital and scarce - housing. Those of us - and there are many - who have worked with and accommodated asylum-seekers and refugees over the years can testify to the effectiveness of such hospitality as a means of restoring dignity and hope.

I suggest the Bishops appeal to their dioceses for people to register their willingness to house a Syrian refugee family. Once registered, potential hosts can be linked to the many excellent refugee agencies working in our regions for advice and guidance in the event that a refugee family is allocated. I believe that such an appeal would elicit a generous response, which the Bishops could then take to the Government.

In this season of Advent, rather than berate the Government for offering "no room in the inn", let the Church be the alternative "stable". I am willing to be one of the first to register as a host.

100 Bridge Street West
Birmingham B19 2YX

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