This year, the Bishop’s Advent Appeal for the Diocese in Europe is directed towards the plight of refugees arriving in Greece.
At a recent gathering of clergy, our suffragan Bishop, +David, described to us the almost overwhelming challenge of dealing with the thousands of refugees arriving weekly on Greek islands, especially those islands closest to Turkey.
There is a great need for assistance to the refugees arriving in Greece, which the appeal will support.
Writing to all Church of England congregations across the continent, the Right Revd Dr. Robert Innes, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, outlined the details:
“At Christmas time, we remember that the infant Jesus was a migrant – born away from home in Bethlehem and then fleeing with his family from Herod’s persecution to safety in Egypt. Today, migration is ‘the big issue’ across Europe. But whilst every country is talking about migration, some countries are affected more than others, and amongst the most affected is Greece. It is therefore without hesitation that in my appeal for Advent 2015 I encourage us to respond to the needs of migrants arriving in Greece. There are two projects.
One is the ‘Lighthouse’ project aiming to bring relief to migrants arriving on the island of Lesvos. Because of its proximity to Turkey, this is the island which has been receiving the highest arrival rate and where the conditions seem to be amongst the worst. ‘Lighthouse’ is a new non-profit organisation set up to meet some critical and acute needs.
The other project relates to our long-term support for Apostoli, the Greek Orthodox diaconal organisation providing assistance to refugees in Athens, and also on the islands of Chios, Samos and Kos. Funds will be allocated to the two projects as seems right when the money is ready for distribution in 2016.”
This Bishop’s Advent Appeal is an opportunity to show solidarity with some of the most vulnerable people in Europe and express our faith in practical ways.
The PCC of Santa Margarita will be considering how best to encourage support for the Advent Appeal at its meeting on 10 December.
Immediate support can be offered through Us.
Prayer for the refugees
Lord God of wilderness, wave and wind,
you travel with the wanderers of the world.
Stay close, we pray, to all who live
with loss, in terror, and adrift,
and spur us on to build a world
where there is truly room for all.
Lord Jesus, you came among us
homeless, and as a refugee.
Shake our complacency,
rekindle our compassion,
and help us challenge our leaders
to forge a common strategy
that is both truly just, and fair.