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National Cathedrals Conference hears about City of Sanctuary

City of Sanctuary Trustee, Helen Moore, and also Community Engagement Officer for York Minster gave a presentation on City of Sanctuary to the National Cathedrals Conference in Manchester on 30th September, 2014. This created a great deal of interest amongst 77 delegates representing almost 40 cathedrals and abbeys from around the country.

City of Sanctuary was tweeted a few times from the conference by delegates who were interested in following up the talk and looking at the needs of sanctuary seekers in their own cathedrals.

Helen described the City of Sanctuary movement and how we now had over 35 group signed up and committed to developing a culture of welcome and inclusivity for sanctuary seekers. She also made suggestions on how cathedrals could be more welcoming and connect better with refugees. Other significant actions that cathedrals and congregations can do across the diocese is to speak up and make people aware of what it is like to be an asylum seeker. She also reminded delegates of the importance of donations, not just of money but also of time and expertise to develop a true culture of welcome.

A copy of Helen’s presentation slides is attached below.

The photo shows Archbishop John Sentamu meeting Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield (DASH) when they visited York Minster during his prayer vigil for peace. He met them and prayed for their home countries.

The faith stream is just one of many streams across City of Sanctuary uniting people within communities to develop their space to one of true welcome to asylum seekers and refugees. Derby Cathedral have developed a strategy for welcoming and supporting asylum seekers as part of seeking a Cathedral in Sanctuary Award. Some of their current actions include

  • Signing a Resolution of Support for the Derby City of Sanctuary local group and having representation at its meetings
  • Supporting interfaith events promoting sanctuary and hospitality
  • Contribution to and support for a programme of events and activities for Refugee Week
  • Working with the editor of Cathedral Outlook and local media to publicize positive stories about sanctuary seekers

The Boaz Trust have funding for “Help! There’s an Asylum Seeker in our Church!” conferences across the UK. The conferences raise awareness, invite discussion on practical support and explore the theology of welcoming the stranger. They are designed to empower churches to reach out and support refugees and asylum seekers in their congregation and community.

If you are interested in helping organise such a conference in your area please contact Dave Smith: [email protected] 0161 202 1056

Attachment Size
York CoS presentation to the Cathedrals Conference 1.92 MB