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Asylum Seekers – Resources

From the Public Issues Commission Report to Synod 2016:

Asylum seekers

The Public Issues Committee (PIC) of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn shares the concern of Synod over the plight of refugees and asylum seekers who flee conflict and persecution in the hope of finding a better future for themselves and their children.  The PIC knows that many people and congregations in our Diocese have welcomed refugees and provided hospitality and help.  St George’s Pearce and St Paul’s Charnwood have active Dinka congregations. St Paul’s Manuka and Holy Covenant Jamison have active refugee support /advocacy groups. In addition, All Saints Ainslie has offered sanctuary for asylum seekers in danger of expulsion and hosted a community forum on refugee and asylum seeker policy at which Rev’d Frank Brennan spoke. St John’s Canberra also hosted a rally early in 2016.

The PIC is hosting ‘Hope and Hospitality’ hearings in various parishes in the Deaneries across the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn. The first of these was at St Simon’s, Kaleen on 30 July 2015 and subsequent ones have been held at Mary in the Valley, Tuggeranong on 1 March and St Saviour’s Cathedral, Goulburn on 30 June 2016. These have been found to have been enlightening meetings where people have shared the joys and challenges of helping new arrivals. They have also been disturbing as participants have learnt of the terrors and difficulties faced by asylum seekers. Some of the stories of from these events have appeared on the Diocesan website and are included on the Synod disk. The PIC intends to extend these events to other parishes.

The Anglican Church in Southern Queensland has produced a Study Guide on Asylum seekers and refugees; Scriptural theological and ethical approaches. This guide of 6 studies is available in hard copy or on-line and the PIC commends it as a useful resource for church small groups.

Refugee Sunday was celebrated on 26 June in various churches in the Diocese and a special service of prayer and reflection was held on the same evening at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture on Monday 15 June 2016. In addition, Dr Ros Dalziell convened the Faith Based Working Group of the Refugee Action Committee which has proven to be a powerful advocacy group for raising awareness of the plight of asylum seekers and for outreach. A Palm Sunday rally in Garema Place in Canberra at which Canon Roberta Hamilton spoke attracted some 3000 people. Many churches marched under their church banners and Anglicans were well represented in the identified ‘faith’ contingent.