The concepts of Sanctuary and Hospitality are prominent in many different religions and expressions of faith.
When a faith community receives the Place of Sanctuary designation, it is an affirmation that the community is one in which hospitality and sanctuary are woven into their life and explicitly stated, so that those looking for a welcome will know that they will find one there.
Many places of worship are already practising this. Others may wish to embark on the process. The hope is to build a network of places of worship where those in need of sanctuary will know they will find a home that is committed to provide a safe, inclusive, welcoming space.
The Faiths Stream steering group are happy to provide guidance and encouragement for faith groups ready to embark on the Sanctuary Journey and work towards the Places of Sanctuary designation. This is a process that includes the following:
- Learn: become familiar with the legal terms and processes around seeking sanctuary, and other issues related to asylum and migration; explore and discuss as a community how hospitality and sanctuary towards those seeking refuge may be expressed in your context;
- Embed: ensure that this awareness becomes a dynamic part of the life of the faith community; look for ways to extend welcome, friendship and practical support; make this awareness part of the community’s decision-making processes; find ways to include the voices of those seeking sanctuary;
- Share: document and share your experiences on your website and social media, via your newsletter, or other media; encourage other communities within your network/denomination to join in the Sanctuary journey as well.
We particularly encourage faith communities to mark Refugee Week each year in some way.
This process is intended to lead faith communities to engage in practical acts of friendship and solidarity.
At present, available documents and resources are framed in the language of ‘Church of Sanctuary’, however, the steering committee are keen to work with other interested faith groups to modify and develop resources that are appropriate to other religions.
- ‘Hospitality and Sanctuary for All’ discussion Guide, (available from the Churches of Sanctuary website)
- Sanctuary Statement of Commitment
If your church, mosque, synagogue, meeting or group is ready to embark on its Sanctuary journey please do get in contact Kevin Mascarenhas email [email protected] or Abigail Sines email [email protected]
Click here to read the Collection of Reflections from the recent Trauma Care Seminar. This whole piece was recently included in the Church of Ireland Gazette (monthly magazine) too.