As a response to the current national and often heated debate on migration, a British and Irish inter-denominational study group has devised a set of principles to enable churches to contribute to the discussion. The principles will also help churches respond in practical ways to the presence, gifts and needs of migrant communities.
'Migration Principles: Statement for churches working with migrants and engaging with migrant issues' is published by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, which, through its Churches' Commission for Racial Justice, convened the study group behind the book.
Edited by Prof Paul Weller of the University of Derby, 'Migration Principles' is firmly rooted in the Christian tradition of welcome. The publication looks at migration in the context not only of Christian theology but also of globalisation, racism, xenophobia, trafficking and exploitation. It further considers the complex issues of family reunification, and the reciprocal benefits of migration, as well as high-profile security concerns.
"Migration Principles" concludes with recommendations of measures that churches should support, and suggested actions for them to take.
"This book comes at a crucially important time," says the Revd Bob Fyffe, general secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, who explains that, "The book is to be used by church leaders and local congregations because the big thinking and big picture around migration require sensitive local delivery."
The Revd Canon Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, canon theologian at Westminster Abbey, chaired the ecumenical roundtable meetings out of which 'Migration Principles' developed. The study process brought together representatives involved in the area of migration and asylum from a very broad range of Christian traditions. It also drew on the first hand experience of migrants and the expertise of cutting-edge thinkers.
The Churches recognise that the diversity of their own membership is the result of a continual process of migration, and are committed to serve the needs of the whole community. This makes the churches well placed to speak on such a sensitive issue. In addition, many churches have made migration issues a priority and are looking for effective practical responses to the phenomenon, as well as a better understanding of it.
The launch of "Migration Principles" will take place next Tuesday 10 July at Westminster Abbey (if wet, in the Jerusalem Chamber). Refreshments will be available.
first posted LONDON - 6 July 2007 - 426 words