Bishop Mark has launched the Bishop’s Christmas Appeal in aid of Walking With and the West End Refugee Service.
The Church has always been a place of sanctuary for those in need and as Christians we believe we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34).
The need for sanctuary seems to grow every year, with countless people seeking refuge from overseas. New figures revealed this month by the charity Refugee Council underline the scale of the asylum backlog crisis. The figures show that the asylum backlog has quadrupled in the last five years – in December 2017 it stood at 29,522. In June this year it was 122,206.
Thankfully, there are many projects that offer help to support asylum seekers and refugees in our Diocese, such as West End Refugee Service (WERS), and Walking With in Wallsend.
They provide food and basic essentials to those on a very limited income and who are not permitted to work, as well as providing initiatives and activities which promote health and wellbeing.
There continues to be a substantial increase in the volume of clients needing support. If an asylum claim is refused, people are often sent eviction notices to leave their properties within 28 days. Many become homeless as they have no access to public funds. Projects like these try to help those who are destitute by giving them a small amount of money from their Hardship Fund. The Hardship Fund relies entirely on donations.
Bishop Mark is appealing to you to give a gift to help WERS and Walking With carry on helping those asylum seekers and refugees. Can you help to support their seeking of sanctuary here?
Donations can be made through the diocesan giving page for the Bishop’s Christmas Appeal, or cheques made out to ‘Newcastle Diocesan Board of Finance’ can be posted to: Finance, Church House, St John’s Terrace, North Shields, NE29 6HS. Please write ‘Bishop’s Christmas Appeal’ on the back of the cheque.