Refugees & Asylum Seekers

There is no question about the Christian response to asylum seekers and refugees. The Church is called to be a place of welcome. As faithful disciples we are to provide care and comfort to those who come to this land as strangers, seeking safety.

The Uniting Church advocates for a just response to the needs of refugees that recognises Australia's responsibilities as a wealthy global citizen, upholds the human rights and safety of all people, and is based on just and humane treatment, including non-discriminatory practices and accountable transparent processes.

As Christians we are called to love our neighbours, to welcome strangers, and to offer refuge to those in need. The Uniting Church in South Australia stands in solidarity with those who are marginalised and in exile and commits to assisting with assimilation, advocating for those in detention and calling for urgent policy changes and compassion by all Australians.


Presbytery and Synod SA "Call to leaders regarding refugees"

The Uniting Church in Australia responds to the grace proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who himself was a refugee.
We are called to work with all our hearts and minds to love God, who is revealed in Jesus Christ.

We are called to express love and generosity of spirit to the world for whom Christ died, including the most marginalized people.
We seek to love the neighbour who is different and welcome the stranger in our midst.

We implore civic leaders to reflect the deep values of Australians, shaped by different nations and cultures, who seek to live in a world
characterized by peace and goodwill.

We therefore ask those leaders to embrace a spirit of compassion and concern for human dignity in their considerations with regards
to Refugee and Asylum-seeker policy development.

Source: Amelia Koh-Butler, Adopted by the South Australian Presbytery and Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia, October 2016

Shelter from the Storm Studies

In these studies we use the Scriptures and “Shelter from the Storm” to consider our Christian response to those seeing refuge in Australia.

These studies will consist of a piece of Scripture followed by a paragraph from “Shelter from the Storm” and a reflection upon what has been read. They will take you around 5-20 minutes
to complete depending on your reading speed and how much time you spend in reflection and prayer.

You will need a Bible to look up the readings for each day and we suggest that you use a notebook or a journal to engage with the questions and to write any reflections you might have.

We suggest that if you do not have a copy of “Shelter from the Storm” you download the PDF from Uniting
Justice>

Download the Shelter from the Storm Daily Devotions written by Rev Christy Capper below:

Shelter from the storm studies Refugee Resource 2017 (481 kb PDF) - A resource for congregations

Theological reflection:

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matthew 25:35).

For more information about the biblical basis of the Uniting Church’s response to refugees and people seeking asylum>

Uniting Church Statements and Resolutions:

MEDIA RELEASE: Open statement calling for immediate action on offshore detention (2017)>

Presbytery and Synod SA "Call to leaders regarding refugees" 2016 (110 kb PDF)

Shelter from the Storm (2015)> 

Refugee Warehousing (2005)>

Iranian Asylum Seekers (2003)>

Asylum Seeker and Refugee Policy (2002)>

Welcome the Stranger (2000)>

Statements from the President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan:

Immediate Sanctuary Required for Refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq 8 September 2015

A Welcome First Response to Refugees from Syria 10 September 2015

Seeking an abundance of generosity for refugees 11 September 2015

President urges support for Syrian Refugee Appeal 24 September 2015