In advance of MPs returning to Parliament on Monday 7 January 2019, faith representatives published a letter in the Sunday Telegraph on 6 January 2019 urging the government to rethink its approach to immigration and to move away from a hostile environment towards a culture of sanctuary.
Those signing the letter included Bob Fyffe, General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) and Revd Aled Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of Cytûn (Churches Together in Wales).
Full text of the letter
“As representatives of faith communities, we are dismayed by the current debate around immigration. The long-awaited Immigration white paper is misguided and disjointed, the promised engagement unclear, and the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination Bill a missed opportunity.
“Urgent action is needed to create a more humane system. Refugee families must be kept together, and close family members allowed to join their children in the UK. The right to work after six months should be extended to all people seeking asylum. There must be a time limit on immigration detention, an end to the detention of vulnerable people, and a genuine discussion about the often impossible standards of proof required by the immigration system. The first reaction to those arriving in boats should not be to disbelieve their stories.
“Today is Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas; the story of the flight of the Holy Family echoes the plight of refugees around the world. We say to the government: let us help you transform the hostile environment, not into a compliant environment, but into a culture of sanctuary.”
- John Adegoke, Chair, Unification Council of Cherubim & Seraphim Churches, Europe Chapter
- Rt. Revd Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon
- John Collings, Secretary of the Church & Society Committee of the National Synod of Scotland of the United Reformed Church
- Dr Patrick Coyle, Chair of Cytûn: Churches Together in Wales
- John P Cross, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland
- Most Revd John Davies, Archbishop of Wales
- Revd Canon Aled Edwards OBE, CEO Cytûn: Churches Together in Wales
- Derek Estill, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
- Bob Fyffe, General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
- Revd Fleur Houston, Churches Refugee Network
- Rt. Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes
- Revd Dr Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader, Baptist Union of Great Britain
- Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
- Kathy Mohan, CEO, Housing Justice
- Revd Judith Morris, General Secretary, Baptist Union of Wales
- Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
- Rt. Revd Joanna Penberthy, Bishop of St Davids
- Most Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Details available from Quakers in Britain.