Blog article by Major Nick Coke
Today we join with many other signatories from across the faith spectrum to sign an open letter to the new Prime Minister, calling on him to expand our refugee resettlement programmes and take action, particularly for the 1000s of unaccompanied children still stranded in Europe.
When you consistently hear people from very different communities in the UK animatedly repeating the same sentiments it makes you sit up and take notice. From London suburbs northern towns, and everything in between, I’ve heard the same refrain:
‘We have been changed.’
‘I’ve learnt so much.’
‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever been involved with.’
‘We thought we were doing the helping, but in all honesty it’s us who have been helped.’
Over the last 2 years as I’ve criss-crossed the country, I’ve encountered a quiet, gentle movement that is galvanising people and communities in a way that subverts the often repeated narrative of a divided Britain. Salvation Army members and volunteers across the UK testify to the life changing and profound effect of welcoming refugees into their communities. Not only have we had the privilege of supporting some of the world's most vulnerable people rebuild their lives but we have been transformed in the process. It is as much for our own sake as well as others that we feel compelled to do more.
The Salvation Army’s Territorial Leader in the UK Anthony Cotterill and I have signed this letter. Our names sit alongside many other signatories from across the faith spectrum and we are calling on new Prime Minister to expand our refugee resettlement programmes and take action, particularly for the 1000s of unaccompanied children still stranded in Europe.
Our experience, from our pioneering of Community Sponsorship to our asylum seeker support, tells us that our communities are ready and waiting to welcome more refugees. As a Christian church and charity, built on our conviction to follow Jesus, we know that in doing so not only will the most vulnerable of people be given the opportunity to rebuild their lives in peace and security, but in our willingness to love our neighbours our very souls will be renewed.
Read more from our Refugee Response Co-ordinator, Major Nick Coke, about why we need Refugee Week.