The Refugee Crisis

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

Only those with a heart of stone can fail to have been moved by the terrible plight of the thousands of refugees who have found it necessary to flee from their homeland, leaving everything behind, simply in order to be safe.

Despite the (seeming) trials and tribulations of life, most of us in this part of the world live comfortably – and in safety. We, therefore, have no real conception of how these people feel – other than to know that nothing, absolutely nothing, is certain any more.

As Christians, our call is to do as much as we can. The late Archbishop Oscar Romero, in an often-quoted prayer said the following:

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace
to enter and do the rest.

Through God’s good grace, we at St. Michael’s have been able to do some little thing. In the space of a week over £1,000 came from the generosity of our congregation. Firstly, in an emergency appeal, £500 was raised in one day and sent to Christian Aid for the immediate relief of refugees and, secondly, our Harvest Supper raised another £500 which has gone to help the work of the West End Refugee Service (WERS) in Newcastle.

I write this, not so that we may give ourselves a ‘pat on the back’ – amazing though the response was – but in order that it may inspire us to do whatever we may be called upon to do next as the situation becomes clearer.

In the meantime, you might like to do two things: Reflect upon the words in chapter 25 of Matthew’s Gospel – particularly verses 31-40 where we are reminded that, whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, it is as if we did it for Christ himself.

Pray regularly for the plight of those who have nowhere to lay their heads at night, let alone have a roof over their heads.

Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee
and had no place to call his own;

look with mercy on those who today
are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.

Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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