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Bishop of Guildford Urges Parishes To Help With Refugee Crisis

Published on: 5 Sep, 2015
Updated on: 8 Sep, 2015

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, is urging parishes in his diocese to get behind the Bishop of Manchester’s call for churches in the UK to help with the refugee crisis.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson.

In a statement, Bishop Andrew has drawn attention to the Rt Revd David Walker, who wrote in The Times newspaper on Saturday, September 5: “Charities and churches in the UK stand as ready as their counterparts in Germany and elsewhere to play a proper part in helping assimilate an equitable and realistic number of refugees into Britain.

“We did so with past crises in Vietnam and Uganda; we can do it again. We call on political leaders of all persuasions to seize the moment, and work with us so that Britain once again becomes a haven for those for whom life has become a hell.”

Bishop Andrew has also quoted Canon Dr Chris Sugden, from the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life, who said: “You will be aware that the Prime Minister is preparing to allow more refugees from Syria into the UK.

“In order to assist this process, it would be most helpful if churches which are willing through their members to welcome such a refugee into their homes on a temporary basis were to signal such readiness.

“This will enable the government to make ready provision. One church leader said to me yesterday that he sees no reason why his congregation could not assist 500 in this way.”

Bishop Andrew’s statement notes that Allan Lee at Barnabas Fund is gathering a database of churches who are willing to help.

The Barnabas Fund is co-ordinating efforts to resettle Christian refugees in the UK. It is reported that Mr Lee will keep senior church authorities informed “so that this is not seen as purely private enterprise, and will strengthen their hand in their own engagement with the Government”.

He can be contacted by email at:

Bishop Andrew calls on local church congregations to inform Mr Lee how many refugees they could help.

He adds: “This will make a very significant contribution and be a most important national witness to the role and place of the Christian church in national life.”

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Responses to Bishop of Guildford Urges Parishes To Help With Refugee Crisis

  1. Sally Parrott Reply

    September 6, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Excellent. For example, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson’s luxurious residence, Willow Grange, could house several families of refugees.

  2. Pam Parsons Reply

    September 7, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    It is so important that we give support to refugees from Syria. But surely we should give sanctuary to all fleeing danger, irrespective of their religion.

    I hope Bishop Andrew doesn’t feel we should only give sanctuary to Christians – they are a very small proportion of those suffering in Syria at the moment. The Christian faith must be bigger and more inclusive than this.

  3. Stephen Bellamy Reply

    September 8, 2015 at 6:03 am

    For a brief, crazy moment I thought the headline was a reference to Palestinian refugees.

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