Continued care for refugees

Posted in Culture

The Uniting Church in South Australia has a history of offering support to refugees and asylum seekers in our local community. Many have also participated in peaceful protests against the offshore detention of people seeking asylum, especially children.

With the approach of the annual Palm Sunday rally, Walk for Justice for Refugees, Moderator Rev Sue Ellis is encouraging the Uniting Church community to continue this support.

“The situation with refugees at the moment is intolerable. As an affluent country, Australia needs to be more welcoming of people whose life situation is desperate through no fault of their own,” she says.

“The Palm Sunday march on Sunday 9 April is one way Uniting Church members can show that they care about what happens to refugees in this world.”

Those wishing to attend the Walk for Justice will meet at Tarndanyangga (Victoria Square) at 1.30pm to prepare placards and signs, before the march to the Parliament House steps begins at 2pm.

This annual event has previously been well supported by the Uniting Church SA and other Christian denominations, in addition to aid and charity organisations. Showing continued support for refugees and asylum seekers is important in 2017 with over 30,000 refugees currently on Bridging Visas, living in constant uncertainty of their future.

Attending the Pam Sunday rally is not the only way church members can offer their support to refugees. Many congregations are actively assisting refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia.

Clayton Wesley Uniting Church and Uniting Communities began offering support through Hope’s Café a couple of years ago. Hope’s Café is now a part of the Spire Community, which offers a range of resources and services to support refugees and asylum seekers. Hope’s Café offers healthy meals on a ‘donate what you can afford’ basis, six different levels of English classes (for Iranian, Korean and Afghani students), barista training, assistance with the early stages of application for asylum, and much more.

“Clayton Wesley Uniting Church and Uniting Communities, working together as the Spire Community, have provided so many opportunities for refugees looking for work or seeking to start their own businesses by providing training and/or experience,” says Rebecca Walker who coordinates Hope’s Café.

“The community began with Hope’s café, providing work experience and barista training for new arrivals and has now expanded into a network of different programs, activities and events.”

The Spire Community includes Hope’s Café, Goodies op shop, a community garden, emergency relief, “In The Same Boat” project, English as a second language classes, a school holiday program, and various other activities and events to support refugees and asylum seekers.

The community has grown and evolved and continually seeks out innovative and collaborative ways to further support refugees in Adelaide.

“We are really excited to announce ‘Inspired’, our first twilight market on Saturday 29 April,” Rebecca enthuses.

The market will be a community event and cultural experience for all those attending.

“We are collaborating with local Etsy Adelaide sellers and offering art, craft and international cuisine prepared by refugees and asylum seekers from the Spire Community and Hope’s Café,” Rebecca explains.

“The market is also an opportunity for refugees and asylum seekers to learn how to get an ABN. With Hope’s Café’s focus on food, we have discovered some incredibly talented caterers and want to support them in starting their own catering businesses.”

Uniting Church SA congregations, faith communities and members are encouraged to continue offering support to those seeking asylum in local communities, and to show solidarity through events like the Palm Sunday rally.

Does your congregation have a story to share? Send it to newtimes@sa.uca.org.au

Rev Christy Capper has produced a 19-day devotional series based on Scriptures and the Uniting Church’s Shelter from the Storm asylum seeker policy. It is available for download here.

 


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