The Bishop of Warrington speaks out about refugee crisis

The Bishop of Warrington, Rt Revd Richard Blackburn is urging parishes, churches and communities across our diocese to look at how we can respond to the refugee crisis.

We have all been horrified, shocked and troubled witnessing the appalling human crisis that is happening across Europe. As the refugee crisis has grown and magnified many of us can be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness and a seeming inability to put our empathy to good use.

But we must respond. We are called to respond.  Jesus says love your neighbour and this wave of humanity which comes knocking at our door to seek refuge are our neighbours. We should hear their knock and open the door.

I know that this is a complex area and we have no easy solutions but this weekend, in your parishes and church communities I urge you to look at how you can respond.

It may be by offering extra food and supplies to your local Foodbank. Many of our Foodbanks are the first port of call for the hungry dispossessed who are entering our region. You may want to talk to your local Foodbank about what are the extra needs that these refugees need.

It may be donating supplies, and equipment to the churches and charities who are trying to bring relief to those fleeing persecution. Could you donate supplies that are needed for the camps around Calais? Or maybe offer something to the many agencies that are working in the war torn and crisis areas of the middle east or the places around the Mediterranean where the refugees first land on our continent. It does not take too much time to find out who to support.

It may be by welcoming, befriending and supporting the stranger in your community. Many more refugees are being brought into our area, what as a church can we do to support them?

It may be by putting pressure on the politicians. We as a church see the need, we hear the stories, we feel the injustice. We can only be part of a wider solution. The politicians need to make the difficult decisions and tackle the challenging problems to enable this crisis to pass and people to be treated in a decent humane way.

And we can pray. Pray for the refugees. Pray for those called to dedicate their lives to providing comfort and support. Pray that solutions may be found and peace reached.

My call this weekend is we all examine our hearts and as a church in the Diocese of Liverpool ask what God wants us to do to help our neighbours in need.
A prayer from the Church of England
Heavenly Father,
you are the source of all goodness, generosity and love.
We thank you for opening the hearts of many
to those who are fleeing for their lives.
Help us now to open our arms in welcome,
and reach out our hands in support.
That the desperate may find new hope,
and lives torn apart be restored.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, Our Lord,  
who fled persecution at His birth
and at His last triumphed over death. 
Amen

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Prayer for the refugee crisis

From the Diocese of Exeter Website

God of compassion
whose own son experienced life as a refugee
we remember those fleeing from danger,
hungry and afraid, with nowhere to call home.
God, we ask for them warmth, security, food and peace.
 
God of hope,
we thank you for those 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.