The Bishop of Dover has spoken of the scenes he witnessed when he visited the migrant camp near Calais known as ‘the Jungle’.
The Rt Rev Trevor Willmott, reflected on his experience as he launched the Diocese’s Advent Justice Appeal, describing the pitiful provision for refugees, flimsy accommodation and hostile treatment by authorities.
“The Diocese’s geographical situation as the gateway to Europe and to England means that we meet the issues surrounding migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in varying ways,” he said. “I am grateful to all those already deeply involved in these matters. We are working closely with other agencies to get a clear picture of the work that is being done – and of what further is required.”
The Appeal, which will run until Christmas Day, will raise funds for the creation of two new posts: one working in Calais with the Diocese of Arras and the other working in Canterbury Diocese, helping to coordinate and support work with refugees there. Churches have been invited to dedicate the collection from one of their worship services during Advent to the Appeal. Bishop Trevor has begun the fund with a personal donation of £1,000, which has been matched by the Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.
People can donate online here, by text message (text BTAA65 and the amount to 70070) or by cheque, made payable to CDBF, with “Justice Appeal” written on the back and sent to Advent Justice Appeal, Diocesan House, Lady Wootton’s Green, Canterbury, CT1 1NQ.
“We believe that all human beings are unique and loved by God, yet we tolerate situations where people are treated as sub-human,” said Bishop Trevor. “We must not turn a blind eye to the suffering on our doorstep as desperate people take desperate measures to reach safety. It is my intention to keep on visiting Calais – not to embarrass the Government, nor to make anyone feel guilty – but because we have an obligation to affirm that every refugee is a human being of great worth.”
But it’s not just about money. Each day from 29 November until Christmas Day on the Diocesan website, Facebook page and Twitter account there will be a new way in which people can respond to the refugee crisis, whether that’s through prayer, finding out more for themselves, or volunteering. The Communities and Partnerships team at the Diocese has also created a Refugee Toolkit, detailing other ways in which people can respond to the refugee crisis.
26 November 2015