Refugee Week began on Monday, with events including a monthly prayer vigil at the Home Office for “those who died trying to reach the UK, those who are still trying, and those who still have no safe haven”.
Organised by London Catholic Worker and Westminster Justice and Peace, there were prayers, hymns and the recitation of names or descriptions of individuals who died recently in their journeys for sanctuary. Notre Dame Refugee Centre in London had a special lunch the same day for visitors and volunteers.
St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square hosted an event organised by the London Churches Refugee Fund where the Vicar, the Revd Sam Wells, gave an address titled: “So many kinds of wrong: A Theological Response to the Rwanda Asylum Project.”
According to a BBC report, the head of the Anglican Church of Rwanda has however disagreed with senior Church of England leaders over their view that the UK’s asylum plan to transport asylum seekers to Rwanda “shames Britain”. Archbishop Laurent Mbanda said it was not immoral and Rwanda was ready to welcome people needing a home.
Hexham and Newcastle Diocese recommended prayers to be used throughout the week. The diocese has monthly vigils outside the Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre at Medomsley, County Durham on first Sunday of the month.
The Justice and Peace Refugee Project at St Vincent’s in Newcastle, which responds to the needs of refugees and migrants, said demand is growing with around ten new clients a week.
Caritas Shrewsbury and Caritas Salford co-signed a statement with other Greater Manchester groups and organisations stressing local action to support people seeking safety.
This Saturday, the June assembly of Southwark archdiocesan commission for justice, peace and the integrity of creation is due to be held at Dover on the coast with the title of “caught in the act”, a reference to the new Nationality and Borders Act that is contributing to the hostile environment for refugees in Britain.
A live video stream can be viewed far beyond the boundaries of the diocese, with a link available from Southwark Justice and Peace. The night before, Kent organisations including Seeking Sanctuary are holding a vigil at the seafront plaques remembering deaths in the Channel, near the port entrance.
On 26 June the Jesuit Refugee Service is due to hold an information day at their centre in East London for anyone who is hosting, would like to host, or explore further ways of providing support to those who are seeking sanctuary.