Engagement -Living out Christ’s love and hope
Six churches in Cheltenham have come together to provide a home and a community for a Syrian refugee family.
As part of the Community Sponsorship scheme, launched by the government last year, the Cheltenham churches felt called to provide a sanctuary for those trying to flee war-torn places. They worked together with Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS) and The Diocese of Gloucester’s Board of Finance, to find a suitable home and finances to welcome a family in need.
The Revd Nick Davies, Area Dean of Cheltenham said. “I’ve been really excited to see this partnership develop. It uses the expertise of GARAS, the combined resources and goodwill of six local Churches and the Diocesan property department. Too often we can feel overwhelmed by global events, but together we can make a real difference. This may seem a drop in the ocean of the Syrian refugee crisis but, hopefully, it is a model which could work elsewhere.”
The family will not just have a home, but people who will help them settle into their new community and who will provide support such as language tuition and assistance into work.
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Rachel Treweek said. “Years of brutal war in Syria have meant that nearly half of the population have had to flee their homes and many have will have lost loved ones, friends and family and witnessed the horrors of war. As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to value every human being and work to enable the flourishing of all people, so I am hugely excited that a number of our churches in Cheltenham have worked together to provide a house for this family, which we hope will soon become home and a place of belonging within the wider community.”
Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for Immigration said. “I am delighted to see so many people coming together in Cheltenham to sponsor a refugee family through the Community Sponsorship scheme.
“The scheme empowers community groups to take on the challenging but rewarding role of welcoming and supporting a vulnerable refugee family.
“I wholeheartedly encourage community groups from across the country who feel they can offer support to apply to the scheme.”