Friends have been moved to respond urgently to the refugee crisis which affects us all. Refugees escaping oppression and war in Syria and Afghanistan are among those who have found their way to the Colchester area and are now seeking support. There are also many refugees still on the journey and waiting for help in Calais and in refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East. The legacy of the world’s conflicts is there – and, increasingly, here – for all to see.
- SEA Quakers are represented on the Board of Welcome Refugees Colchester which is made up of about 15 groups across Colchester, including faith organisations, action groups and Essex University, and has the backing of Colchester Borough Council.
- We have established links with the local organisation Fresh Beginnings and are seeking ways we, as individuals and Meetings, might offer accommodation or support in other ways.
- SEA Quakers have set up a working group to consider both the immediate and long-term issues facing refugees who may come to our area. In these turbulent times, we take inspiration from Our Faith in the Future, which reminds us that Meeting for Worship is the bedrock of living as a Quaker, that Quaker values are active in the world, and that we work collaboratively with others, rather than trying to put the world to rights all by ourselves!
- We are in this for the long haul. We are called to live in the place where our ‘deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet’.
Quakers in Britain have issued a Meeting for Sufferings statement urging the UK Government to welcome those desperately seeking a place of safety, in Europe, from the dangers in their own countries. The statement concludes: “Quakers assert that all human life is precious – each person is a child of God and the loss of one diminishes us all. In this severe crisis, we hear the Spirit calling us to throw ourselves into the fray with all the love and courage we can muster.”