This week is Refugee Week, the UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees and promoting understanding of why people seek sanctuary.
The theme of this year’s festival is “You, me and those who came before” and we are invited to find out more about the lives of refugees – and those who welcomed them – through the generations.
There are lots of events happening throughout the week and you can find out more here.
Do you have ancestors who were refugees or welcomed refugees? Do you know their stories? Why not find out more?
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……
Today the knitted Nativity visited Shire Oak School in Headingley. In assembly they helped the children think about all those who are travelling at this time of year.
Dear God, as we travel through Advent towards Christmas, we think of everyone travelling
Be with them, and us, in all our journeys.
- to loved ones
- to safety
- for work
- to help others.
They are off again! The Refugee Family are seeking shelter again this Advent around the homes of the All Hallows’ folk.
This Advent, may God bless us with
the humility of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the joy of the angels,
the faith of Mary and Joseph,
and the peace of the Christ child.
A much loved member of our congregation is currently in detention and scheduled to be deported on Tuesday. Do please read all about him and consider signing the petition to stop him being deported. More information at:
At the Bistro night on 2 February there will be two events going on to which you are invited. Alice Trull will hold a drop off point for clothes for refugees in Calais. There is a list here of the items she would like on the facebook event. https://www.facebook.com/events/159813944667544/ Please bring what you can.
This is going on at the same time as the event raising money for Christian Aid and All Hallows’ Church Roof. This is a clothes swap or SWISH so if you are having a clear out this January, please bring your preloved clothes and go home with lots of new ones to love! https://www.facebook.com/events/1002475066551322/
Fabulous filling food, helping refugees and new clothes for ourselves at the same time as raising vital funds! Please come along and like and SHARE the FB events.