“On Wednesday evening, Rita and I attended a special meeting to hear about how Taunton may help to accommodate refugees from war torn Syria. The Bishop of Taunton attended and nearly double the number of people they expected turned up. The Government have pledged to take 20,000 people from the refugee camps. These will be the most vulnerable and displaced people. The scheme is designed to last five years and the first year is fully funded. Citizen UK is a charity charged with persuading the local authority to take a fair quota and then helping to provide local support.
Almost all these refugees will be Muslims. The Christian Syrians are generally not in the camp. This is because politically they gave support to President Assad who had given them shelter and protection. The Government and the Barnabas Trust are working on a provision for a limited number of refugees to come over in a second stage. These Christians or Muslim refugees would be less vulnerable, and generally, more able than the first group. They would not have the same level of government funding but they would be fully screened.
Businesses, churches and individuals would be invited to sponsor a refugee or family and act as guarantors. The Church can play a role with the first group e.g. opening our coffee shop as a meeting place or inviting a young family to Parents and Toddlers. The second group will need a lot of planning and working together. If you would be interested in exploring what a group of local Christians from churches working together might do, please contact me through the office or by email ASAP. We cannot turn a blind eye to a humanitarian crisis unfolding on such a scale, and like Jewish refugees in the Second World War, these people need a safe place to go until they can return to their homeland.”