‘We were shocked to learn of the brutal attack on worshippers leaving the Finsbury Park mosque in the early hours of this morning. We unreservedly condemn all acts of violence which seek to undermine our society and foster hatred and intolerance. Jesus came among us as the Prince of Peace, and in his name and for his sake, we stand in solidarity with our Muslim friends. We remember in our prayers those who have been injured. We pray for the leaders of our communities and nation, and for those who work in our emergency services. We pray too for those who perpetrate such acts that God may touch their hearts and minds with his love, forgiveness and compassion.’
In 2015, 12,000 children in the Black Country were officially defined as ‘in need.’ Social Services are coming under increasing pressure as they address this problem. Across the Black Country, Christians and churches are already doing their best to serve struggling families, but the need is too great for individuals or small groups to tackle alone.
In an imaginative initiative, Love Black Country and Transforming Communities Together have created a consortium between themselves and four charities which focus in different ways on children and families – Home for Good, Safe Families for Children, TLG and YMCA Open Door – so that congregations in the Black Country are able to respond to the need by linking to just one consortium. The groundbreaking project invites each Black Country congregation to nominate a ‘Families Champion,’ who will act as the point of contact between the local church and the consortium of charities in all matters relating to children and families in need. More information about the initiative here.
In September 2016, Rachel Lampard, Vice President of the Methodist Church, chaired the launch of a letter from 224 faith leaders to the Prime Minister calling for more help to be given to refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq and other areas of conflict. In her speech, Rachel said, ‘At the centre of our call today is support for families. Whatever shape they are, families are a necessary part what it is to be human. As faith leaders, we are deeply concerned that current Government policy undermines the chance that many refugees have to a family life.’ Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Dr Rowan Williams, gave a keynote address. The statement was signed by many faith leaders and reported in the mainstream press. The statement can be accessed here.
Christian Aid recently launched its CHANGE THE STORY initiative to encourage Christians to write to local newspapers with positive stories about refugees and those who offer welcome and support to them. More information via this link.