The workplace chaplaincy ‘Churches And Industry Group Birmingham-Solihull’ (CIGB) will hold its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 14 June at…
Restore supporting refugees through challenges and opportunities….
We are all horrified by the war in Ukraine that now appears daily in the news and the devastating impact on millions of people there. It’s been extremely heartening to hear of the response to the Homes for Ukraine scheme where British people are taking up the opportunity to generously host Ukrainian refugees. There’s a huge amount of information available and we’ve put some on our website to help those who wish to explore the Homes for Ukraine scheme further.
We recognise that not everyone is able host and that there are refugees from many other countries in our city too. If you want to support refugees, then you could consider another option: becoming a befriender with Restore. This gives you the opportunity to meet a refugee or asylum seeker every 2 weeks to offer welcome, help with conversational English and help with adjusting to a new city and culture.
An asylum seeker wrote about her experience of being befriended,
“My Befriender turned out to be the best friend I ever had in my life. She is very kind-hearted and takes very good care of me. She is always ready to listen to me at any time and has helped me to regain my self-confidence by her kind support.”
A volunteer wrote about his motivation to befriend,
“I wanted to do my bit to make Birmingham a welcoming place for asylum-seekers and refugees, all who have been through horrendous experiences, very often cut off from family and trying in very difficult circumstances to make a new life for themselves in Birmingham. What is special about Restore is that befriending allows for a more informal relationship to develop, which is greatly appreciated by both sides.”
If befriending sounds appealing, then please come along to our next training course via Zoom in June to find out more and decide if is an opportunity for you.
Thank you to all you wrote to their MP asking them to vote for amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill. It was also great to see Bishops speaking truth to power and supporting amendments to the Bill in the House of Lords. However, it was a huge disappointment that the Bill became law without being amended to offer greater protection to refugees. We are also horrified by the announcement to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda – a policy that is currently being challenged through the courts to explore the legality of the proposed scheme.
There is now a new campaign to challenge these anti Refugee Laws. Restore has signed the #AntiRefugeeLaws pledge and would encourage other organisations and churches to sign up too.
In the face of challenges, we also want to celebrate the contribution that refugees make to our society during Refugee Week (20 to 26 June 2022) where the theme this year is Healing. Events include a Festival with refugee musicians at the MAC in Cannon Hill Park on Saturday 25 June from 1pm. Please include the link https://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/celebrating-sanctuary-refugee-week-family-event
And finally, please join us for the Restore Annual Celebration on Wednesday 6 July 2022 at St Martin in the Bullring church from 7.15pm. We’re delighted that we can bring together the Restore family of refugees, asylum seekers, volunteers and supporters in person for the first time since summer 2019.
Let us continue to respond to the call of Jesus to welcome the stranger which includes all refugees wherever they are from including Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Eritrea, Yemen, Sudan…. and support them in the challenges and opportunities they face in rebuilding their lives.