Ruth Burge-Thomas, parish priest of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham, welcomed members of local faith groups, the mayor of Lambeth and two newly arrived refugee families from Syria to a party last night.
They bring to nine the number of Syrian refugee families the borough has welcomed.
“Although we find things different and we may find things strange about one another, with God’s will and with goodwill, we will be a source of blessing to one another,” Mother Ruth told the event organised by Citizens UK, which began the multi-faith campaign to welcome refugees with a meeting in Windrush Square in 2015.
Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston, said the party was a wonderful occasion and an example of people working together locally “amongst all the different faiths represented here and the great diversity of this wonderful community of Lambeth”.
He said he was “very aware that we keep hearing statistics about the size of refugee flows across our globe and that this is one if the biggest issues facing us globally
“But one thing a party like this reminds us of is that although those huge statistics are there, we are talking about families – brothers and sisters; mothers and fathers. People who need homes and to be welcomed and sheltered.”
The party also saw the beginning of a Lambeth “Refugees Welcome” quilt. Mother Ellen Eames, chaplain of St Gabriel’s College in Myatt’s Fields, invited everybody to write their name or draw on a square of fabric.
“We will add all the squares to our quilt now and next time there are more people coming. It can keep growing and growing.”
Good to see Bishop Richard and Mother Ruth extend the hand of welcome, safety, community and friendship to those who have been displaced, ruined and faced unimaginable horrors.
However, to see the Church act as if all are welcome does not sit well. This is the week that we truly saw the position of the Church on those who are in same sex relationships. The Church does good kind deeds with one hand and then goes and casts out those that are In same sex relationships with the other. Not a kindly or humane act. It is truly a sad indictment that all are not really truly welcomed into the Church of England in 2017.
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