Adelaide Anglican Bishop Tim Harris has commended the State and Federal Governments for stepping up and accepting refugees from Syria but is calling for an increase in Australia’s overall refugee intake to occur to accommodate this.
“The image of Aylan, the young Syrian refugee boy who so tragically lost his life on the shores of Turkey, has deeply touched many Australians,” Bishop Tim says.
“It is, however, truly sobering that his is only one of many thousands of equally tragic personal stories emerging from the refugee crisis in Europe.
“Premier Jay Weatherill’s offer for our State to receive up to 800 Syrian refugees is warmly welcomed but we are also calling on the wider South Australian community to open their hearts and their homes to provide safe places of refuge for those fleeing appalling conflict and persecution.”
The Bishop has affirmed that no religious test should be applied to whoever should be welcomed as refugees and has urged the Government to give special consideration to especially vulnerable persecuted minority religious and ethnic groups amongst those seeking refuge (Christian and non-Christian alike).
“Local churches of the Adelaide Anglican Diocese and AnglicareSA are ready, willing and able to take a lead role in supporting and welcoming refugees to our state,” Bishop Tim says.
“AnglicareSA has significant experience, organisational skills and resources while the Anglican Church has an extensive local network of communities and volunteers to ensure there is a human face to the practical support.
“A letter has been sent to all Anglican parishes, schools and agencies urging them to explore practical areas of support including being prepared to receive Syrian refugee families.
“Christian churches are mindful that the family of the infant Jesus were themselves refugees from acts of terrorism, and that we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34). Jesus grew to be the great Peacemaker, and calls us to roll up our sleeves and do likewise.”
“In the company of our fellow South Australians, we hereby commit ourselves to stepping up and doing all we can in responding to this exceptional time of need and our opportunities to provide a safe haven and place of refuge.”
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