On Sunday morning members of the congregation lit 27 candles to remember the 27 people – 17 men, seven women (one of whom was pregnant) and three children, who died trying to cross the English Channel in a small boat last Wednesday.
God of love, You are the God who takes the side of the oppressed. You are the God who is close to the brokenhearted. You are the God who raises high the humble.
We pray for refugees around the world. May they be welcomed with open arms. May their needs for food, shelter, clothing and love be met. May their wounds – emotional and physical – be healed.
We pray that the world will hear their plight. We pray that the world will have compassion. We pray that the world will take action on their behalf. In Jesus’ name, amen.
In their travels the Knitivity refugee family meet all sorts of people. Usually they meet local people connected to All Hallows but this weekend they found themselves at the vicarage for a night and they met up with two people visiting from London – not quite refugees themselves – Emily and Nam. Emily works for the Migration Museum Project , a fascinating project “telling stories of movement to and from Britain in fresh and engaging ways.” I’m sure that Emily learnt a lot from meeting our Knitivity Refugee Family!
I know, it’s not yet Advent, but refugee crises are no respecters of the liturgical calendar and our Refugee Family are seeking shelter again this Advent around the homes of the All Hallows’ folk.
For the last few years we have had the tradition of a knitted nativity set (recently christened the knitivity set!) being passed from household to household within the All Hallows’ community with the opportunity to reflect on the story of a displaced family caught up in the political and social chaos of their times. Some of the hosts have supplied photos and reflections many of which have been posted on our website. You can see some of them by clicking on Advent 2016, Advent 2017 or Advent 2018 in the category cloud in the right hand column of the website.
This year they have set off early, no doubt due to the census (or General Election) coming early!
If you are a member of the All Hallows’ community and would like to host the Refugee Family (Knitivity Set) for a night then please contact Heston – simply drop him an email or a text with your phone number and include the phrase knitivity set and we will try to arrange for them to reside at your house or barn for a night.
And if you take any photos or write a reflection please let Paul have them for the website.
The Refugee Family and friends spent the evening on the doorstep waiting for a lift to their next destination. Fortunately it was reasonably warm and it didn’t rain much but their lift never materialised as their next host ran out of time chasing around preparing for Christmas! Several hours later the family managed to wake the Inn Keeper who had fallen asleep in front of the TV watching a worthy program about racism and he grudgingly let them back in to stay the night.
One of the problems with continuously moving from one place to another is that you can easily lose track of events. Refugees and asylum seekers are often picked up on inconsistencies in their stories when they are interviewed but if you slept in a different place every night you would have difficulty keeping track!
And so it is with our refugee family, we now have evidence of where they were last weekend, possibly Saturday night. Let’s hope that the Home Office don’t catch up with them and ask any difficult questions. (I’m sure that they won’t forget staying with Edie and Maeve even if they don’t remember which night it was!)
One of the problems of being a refugee is that you never know if you are going to be able to put your head down in the same place two nights running. Our refugee family spent a night in Meanwood…
… and then found themselves in York
Sometimes a refugee or asylum seeker may be a bit more fortunate (!) and find a scheme like the WYDAN night shelter where they know that they might be able to have 7 nights in one place, or they might be accepted on Grace Hosting and find themselves welcomed into someone’s home for a period of time but they are still not in their own space and they still do not have any control over their future in the same way that we do.
As we approach Christmas and we remember how Jesus was a refugee from Herod let us remember those caught up as refugees and asylum seekers and let us try and find more ways to welcome and support them.
It is often the case with refugee families that they disappear off the radar for a time and then appear in unexpected places. Who would have thought that the refugee family would turn up in Chapel Allerton! But they have made it to Pippa and Jackie’s. The kings are still on the way, across earth and fire……