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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.

Adding to the Refugee Week 2021 ‘We cannot walk alone’ chalk footprint mural at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin

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.

Some resources:

If your church, mosque, synagogue, meeting or group is ready to embark on its Sanctuary journey please do get in contact Kevin Mascarenhas [email protected] or Abigail Sines [email protected]

Places of Worship that have received the Sanctuary designation:

Places of Worship that have adopted the Statement of Commitment:

  • Carrigaline Union of Parishes (Co. Cork)
  • Carrickmacross, Magheracloone and Ardragh
    Group of Parishes (Co. Monaghan)
  • Christ Church Limerick
  • Cork Methodist
  • St Patrick’s Methodist Church Waterford
  • Chaplaincy Department, University College Cork
  • Urban Junction/Ignite Network, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Archbishop Michael Jackson, with Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council (centre), along with staff, volunteers, friends, and beneficiaries of the IRC transitional housing programme, following a service of thanksgiving in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin to mark the conclusion of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough’s ‘A Place to Call Home’ fundraising appeal. (February 2020)

Fiona Finn of NASC gives the address on World Refugee Day in Carrigaline Union of parishes, County Cork (June 2021)

Click here to read about Refugee Week and Sanctuary Sunday 2021 activities which took place around the island.

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. 

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