Refugees and Asylum Seekers

As part of Christian Aid Week. Wednesday May 17th. ‘Refugees and asylum seekers: questions and answers’ An evening with Eleanor Brown, Chief Executive of CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, through whom we organised our Harvest Supper in 2016). 7.30pm in the Hall.



Our congregation is: Christ Centred + Faithful + Inclusive + Outward Looking. As a witness to these guiding principles, we are glad to adopt this Declaration by the Bishop of Southwark, the Mayor of London and many faith leaders:
• “We pledge our determination as Londoners to ensure that this great city shall continue to be a place of welcome, generosity and equality, with respect for all.
• “We condemn and oppose prejudice and distrust and will work unceasingly for tolerance and the common good.
• “We abhor all examples of exclusion based on ethnic identity that mar relationships between neighbours of all ages, faiths and backgrounds.
• “We stand in solidarity with those in London who are mistreated or held in contempt because of who they are or where they have come from.
• “We affirm that our diversity is a source of strength and that we are committed to learning from one another.
• “We commit to living out this Declaration in our own life, in our teaching and preaching and in our community engagement.’
As members of St Anne’s Church, we are trying to fulfil this commitment now by:
• learning more, with open minds, about refugees, asylum seekers and migration generally;
• praying and reflecting on how God is calling us at this time to respond to these issues;
• joining with organisations that are working to help the people who are suffering through being refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, notably Breaking Barriers, CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers), Refugee Action Kingston and Refugees Welcome in Richmond;
• sharing what we are trying to do and why, with our family, friends and those whom we meet.

Please click HERE to participate in this Declaration and HERE to sign the original Declaration on the Diocesan web site.

Food Bank

We are supporting the work of Richmond Food bank with a collection box at the back of the church for the donation of non perishable food items. A list of what they currently need is displayed on the box.

Food Security in Matabeleland

The Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call – Week Two – Food Security in Matabeleland – Might you consider giving to help the farmers at St Aidan’s and Ntabazinduna the chance to learn how to and begin to grow their own crops so that they can begin to ensure that they and their families can have more of a future than seems possible now? So much more needs doing and these projects are just a beginning. The more that we can give, the more seed and fertiliser and bore holes that can be purchased and the greater the chance of helping farmers towards growing more food for the people around them. . “I was hungry… I was thirsty”. Please see details at the back of the Church.

Refugees and the Law

Wednesday 22 March at 8pm in the Hall:
A talk by Judge John Manuell about his work and his faith.

Judge John Manuell, who is a member of our 8am congregation, is a Senior Judge in the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). The First-tier Tribunal is part of the court system of the United Kingdom. It was created in 2008 as part of a programme, set out in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, to rationalise the tribunal system. The First Tier Tribunal addresses eight areas of the law of which Immigration and Asylum is one. Judge Manuell’s work involves handling appeals against some decisions made by the Home Office relating to permission to stay in the UK; deportation from the UK; entry clearance to the UK. The Tribunal also handles applications for immigration bail from people being held by the Home Office on immigration matters.

Social Justice Forum, fifth meeting, 26 November 2016.

Social Justice Forum, fifth meeting, 26 November 2016.
Twelve people came, including Father Nigel (who had to leave for another meeting at 10.30) and Claudine. Two people had to leave after the first half. Twelve people sent apologies including Christopher.
The handout is available on the St Anne’s web site, as are the other four handouts and the records of our meetings.

First half of meeting: study and prayer

After introductions, we opened with a liturgy. We divided into pairs to look at extracts from:
1. The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report (3 August 2016) on the Migration Crisis;
2. Pope Francis’ message for the 2017 world Day of Migrants and Refugees;
3. 2016 report from the UNHCR representative in Syria.
We followed this with silent prayer and reflection.
Second half of meeting: action

Marian Mollett introduced and chaired a session on Drawing up a statement of commitment/witness/declaration for St Anne’s around refugees. We had three statements to examine (so far as we know, no statement has been issued by the Church of England):

1. St Martin in the Fields Date: September 2015  – Scope: Migration Purpose: Education/witness

2. Faith leaders letter to Government Date: July 2016   – Scope: Response to refugees Purpose:  Lobbying

3. Southwark Diocese Faith and Community Assembly Date:  October 2016  – Scope: Diversity in London Purpose   Our response –
We divided into threes to examine these statements with a number of questions and then came together with our answers:

Questions  and Answers
Question 1. What is the point of a statement? What is the connection between words and action?   Answer: A statement of what we believe that guides our behaviour/actions

Question 2. Should we write our own statement, tweak one of the three statements, or adopt one of the three?  Answer: We should adopt the Southwark statement with a short preamble using St Anne’s ‘strapline’.

Question 3. If we prepare a declaration, what should we do with it?  Answer: Suggestions included: flyers, web site, notice board, the opportunity for individuals to sign up; a launch event; sharing with CTIK, Deanery and Diocese; a feature in The Bridge; an invitation to the Mayor of London to visit us

Question 4. How will we make it a reality?  Answer” We valued point 6 in the Southwark statement – “We commit to living out this Declaration in our own life, in our teaching and preaching and in our community engagement.” Specifically, through our links with Breaking Barriers, CARAS and Refugee Action Kingston and through our prayers & reflections.

We will ask the PCC to consider this at their February meeting.

We then talked briefly about our links to refugee organisations. Sue Lloyd is volunteering with Sally Cannon at Breaking Barriers and they both think that BB are developing well as an organisation and that we should try and recruit more volunteers in the New Year. Claudine had visited Eleanor (Elly) Brown, the new Director of CARAS and had been delighted to find that CARAS were in touch with Breaking Barriers. Elly had suggested an evening meeting at St Anne’s when she and one of her staff could come and answer any questions we might have about refugees and about how systems work here and what happens to refugees in this country and we agreed that it would be helpful. Claudine will consult Father Nigel with a view to arranging a meeting in 2017. Elly is looking at the governance aspects of CARAS and will let Claudine know if there is any professional help that they might need on an occasional basis. Marjorie Evans had had a formal interview with Refugee Action Kingston and hopes to help at a new centre in Surbiton.

Dates for diary
Next Social Justice Forum meetings: 11 February, 20 May.
Next Refugees Welcome in Richmond meeting: 11 January, 7.30pm, venue to be confirmed
19-25 June: Refugee Week.
Claudine McCreadie 30 November 2016.

Social Justice Forum 2015-2017 – Downloads

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