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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Launch of London Churches Refugee Fund
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¬†Refugee Week started yesterday. In the evening an important new fund for refugees was launched at a service in Westminster Abbey. Patrons of the new London Churches Refugee Fund include Bishop Bernard Longley of the Diocese of Westminster, Reverend Roberta Rominger of the United Reformed Church (Thames North Synod), the Right Reverend Peter Wheatley, Bishop of Edmonton, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred of the Church of God of Prophecy and the Reverend Baroness Kathleen Richardson of the Methodist Church. They accepted a cheque of £1600 from the Trustees as the start of a fund which aims to support churches working with destitute asylum seekers in the London area. Reverend Rominger in her sermon recalled the many social reforms which had started in the Christian churches, to be accepted later as social policy by Parliament, "across the road", and stated that the present government was using destitution as a means of discouraging refugees from coming to this country. Thousands of asylum seekers are without any legal status in Britain today, either waiting for their applications to be processed, for appeals to be heard, or to be deported. They are not allowed to work, they receive either 70% of statutory benefit, or vouchers for food, or no allowance at all. Most live on the charity of friends or agencies such as churches, or work in a black market which guarantees no rights or permanence. The Churches Action on Poverty has called them Living Ghosts. We are invited to contribute to the fund, or take part in many local events. Donations may be sent to London Churches Refugee Fund at Regent Square United Reformed Church, 86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT, or further information from the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission, 4 Vincent Road, London N15 3QH.
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