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Weekly SNAC, 20 September 2015 - Syrian Refugees: What can we do?



The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, has welcomed the Government’s announcement that Australia will permanently resettle 12,000 refugees from Syria on top of the current humanitarian intake. Dr Davies has also called upon Sydney Anglicans to make a generous and practical response to the Syrian refugee crisis:

“I am calling upon parishes all across our diocese, not only to pray for these victims of persecution, but to step up and be prepared to do whatever is within their power to provide a warm and generous welcome, coupled with practical assistance, to ensure that those who come to find safety in Australia are afforded the best possible chance to make a new start and benefit as fully as possible from the peace, freedom and opportunity that Australia offers.”

“Under the leadership of Anglicare Sydney, I have also asked our diocesan organisations - our schools, our retirement villages, our youth programs and our colleges to come together to assist in any way they can with goods in kind, funds, ESL classes, educational support, personal support and even accommodation.”

“We also look forward to working as effectively as possible in a coordinated manner alongside other non-government organisations and government agencies.”

Anglicare Sydney CEO, Mr Grant Millard says that Anglicare is well placed to provide immediate assistance. “Anglicare has disaster recovery volunteers already trained to assist with the reception of those needing immediate assistance upon arrival and our hamper-packing and second-hand clothing warehouse is available to provide food and clothing.”
“We will also be looking to prepare and distribute hygiene and children’s packs as well as facilitate language training through our ESL network across the parishes”.

The Rev Zac Veron, CEO of Anglican Youthworks, has offered immediate short and medium term accommodation for up to 400 refugees. “We are preparing to offer medium term accommodation facilities for up to 150 refugees and short term accommodation for up to another 250 refugees”, said Mr Veron.

Dr Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, remarked “Generous non-discriminatory hospitality and practical care for those in such dire need flows out of our understanding of what God has done for us in Christ. We who have been received freely and yet at great cost to God cannot harden our hearts to others at a moment like this. Our College community stands ready to do whatever we can to assist in this important work.”

Dr Davies has also highlighted the importance of a non-discriminatory approach in deciding who should or should not come to Australia. “Our ability to show love and mercy and provide a warm welcome to anyone regardless of their faith must serve as a counterpoint to the brutality of IS and as an expression of the love of God to all humanity. Our response needs to be immediate, generous and unquestioning with regard to race, ethnicity or religion.”

The Archbishop and Anglicare have also launched ‘The Archbishop’s Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal’, to provide particular emergency relief and support to Syrian refugees. For more information, or to donate, please visit the Anglicare website or call 13 26 22.

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