Churches, Church leaders and aid organisations across Britain and Ireland are responding to the refugee crisis calling on their governments to take action, encouraging donations from church members and providing support where possible, often through partner organisations.
Below we list the main initiatives from the churches, plus news relating to refugees and migration.
Updated 5 December 2018
Campaign: right to work for those seeking asylum
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), through the Churches’ Refugee Network (CRN), has joined a coalition of over 80 non-profit organisations, think tanks, businesses and faith groups in a campaign asking the UK government to give people seeking asylum the right to work. Churches involved include the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, Salvation Army and the United Reformed Church (URC).
Facts about refugees leaflet
National Justice and Peace Network, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Christians Aware have produced a leaflet providing information about refugees including recent facts and figures, links to stories, pointers to what we as Christians can do and follow-up contacts.
Church delegation to Italian refugee projects returns with harrowing stories
Delegates on a CTBI fact-finding trip to Italian refugee projects have returned with distressing accounts of refugees being trafficked, kidnapped and abused on journeys to the Libyan coast.
Find out more about the CTBI visit to Italian refugee projects.
Twelve female Church leaders from across Britain and Ireland visited refugee ‘hot spots’ in Greece between 23 and 27 May 2016 to investigate conditions in refugee camps and assess how refugee projects and workers can be supported.
Read their reports, impressions and reflections from Greece on the Focus on Refugees website.
Dedicated website – Focus on Refugees
If you want to keep up-to-date with the refugee crisis in Europe, take a look at the dedicated website from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).
Focus on Refugees covers news, policy, practical action and resources for those in the faith community across the Four Nations. Explore the issues and find out how your church, community or orgainsation could help.
UK church leaders visit Greek-Macedonian border to meet refugees
Senior UK Church leaders and representatives visited Idomeni, on the Greek-Macedonia (FYROM) border, where they met some of the thousands of refugees fleeing conflict. A full report is now available to download.
The group, part of a Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) delegation, also held discussions with local volunteers and activists, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representatives, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Médecins du Monde, and local government officials.
Mission, migrants and refugees – theological reflection
This resource from the Mission Theology Advisory Group (MTAG) is intended to stimulate thinking and reflection about what happens in the long term to those people from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria and many others fleeing war, violence and persecution, who come to live in the UK and how the Church’s mission is shaped to respond to those to whom we pledge our loving service.
Download Mission, migrants and refugees – theological reflection.
CCME refugee report: Safe Passage
Safe Passage: Advocating for a humane asylum and migration policy in Europe, available for download from the the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) website summarises some of the current concerns of European churches on European Union (EU) asylum and migration policy. It discusses EU policy problems and possible policy alternatives for ‘safe passage’ as supported by churches in Europe.
Community Sponsorship Guide for refugee families
A detailed guide showing how community groups can sponsor and support a refugee family according to the UK Home Office process. It explains the criteria that need to be met such as organisation status, experience, financial commitment, housing, Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, safeguarding, resettlement plan and local authority consent. Download the guide from Focus on Refugees.
A joint venture between the Boaz Trust and Jubilee+, centred on the R2C2 website that ‘seeks to resource Christians and churches to reach out to and support asylum seekers and refugees in their churches and communities with the love and compassion of Christ’.
New national charity (September 2017) with a vision for every refugee in the UK to be welcomed by their local church. It aims to help churches support refugees who arrive in the UK and settle them into the community. Its partners include the Methodist Church in Britain. Find out more on the Welcome Churches website.
Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees
A dedicated website for faith groups in Scotland responding to the refugee crisis. It has sections looking at how governments and local authorities are taking action, details of current campaigns, research on the issue of migration, stories from those helping refugees, resources for those of different faiths, plus how we can respond ourselves. Take a look at the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees website.
Becoming Human Together
A new theological reflection on migration, Becoming Human Together, aimed at Christian ministers, preachers, worship-leaders and those involved in setting and influencing the policy of their churches has been produced by Christian Aid Scotland and Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees. It explores Christian theology from the Reformed tradition as it relates to faith and forced migration. It can be downloaded from the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees website.
A guide to welcoming asylum seekers, published by Churches Together in the Merseyside Region, offers practical help for churches and other groups wanting to respond positively to the refugee crisis and aims to bust myths that have emerged. There is also a pamphlet giving support and guidance to faith and community groups who want to support English language learning. Download Welcoming the Stranger and Supporting English Language Learning.
The Citizens UK Foundation for the Sponsorship of Refugees was established in October 2017 and organises communities to act together to help refugees under the Community Sponsorship scheme. The website provides a guide to all the steps that sponsorship entails with an overview available in English and Welsh.
Founded in 2015 by a group of lawyers, community organisers and faith leaders, this project of Citizens UK campaigns to find legal and safe ways for refugee children to be reunited with their families. Safe Passage‘s head office is based in London but it also has a presence in France, Italy, Greece and Brussels.
Refugee report from the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT)
Made for goodness: a faithful response to the refugee crisis, published by JPIT in July 2016, explores the history and impact of the current humanitarian crisis. It highlights four specific areas that churches can engage with and campaign on, and includes biblical reflection looking at Christian experiences of movement and migration. Download Made for goodness: a faithful response to the refugee crisis on the JPIT website.
Refugee FAQ from the Joint Public Issues Team
This briefing document from the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) answers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) such as what help has currently been pledged by the UK? Can the nation cope with housing these refugees? Are refugees attracted here because of the generous benefits system? What is being done by charities, churches and agencies in the UK? Plus how can individuals and churches get involved?
Download the Refugee FAQ from the JPIT website.
Church Response for Refugees
Church Response For Refugees is a movement aimed at inspiring, encouraging and equipping churches and communities across the UK to actively welcome and support refugees. Three key areas of its work are community sponsorship, practically serving refugees and raising awareness. Find out more on the Church Response For Refugees website.
This resource for practitioners and groups who want to get involved helping migrants within the UK, produced for Housing Justice, NACCOM and Praxis, looks at models of accommodation and support for migrants with no recourse to public funds. It can be downloaded from the NACCOM website.
CCME on refugee crisis: analysis and what we can do
A series of short videos from 2015 looking at the refugee crisis in Europe from Doris Peschke, general secretary of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME).
Videos include ‘What can we do as individuals?’ and ‘What can we do as churches?’ – Watch CCME refugee videos
In Europe, Christian Aid works with partners in the ACT Alliance and other agencies to support practical and political action to help those fleeing, and address the longer term issues. It has a web page devoted to Europe’s refugee crisis where you can donate to help its work.
Christian Aid shared this statement (PDF) with all Sponsoring Churches regarding the refugee crisis.
CAFOD is responding to the refugee crisis and has a web page covering the issues as well as a link to its refugee crisis appeal.