Gathering from the Anglican and Episcopal provinces of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, this Europe regional consultation, hosted by the Anglican Alliance, will share different perspectives on humanitarian issues and other social justice concerns during its three-day meeting held this week at St Michael’s College, Cardiff.
“Given all that is happening these last months and weeks across Europe, with the plight of the refugees and migrants, it could not be more timely that we come together to consider the role of the local and national churches across the British Isles and Ireland, and into continental Europe,” said the Revd Rachel Carnegie, Co-Executive Director of Anglican Alliance.
The opening panel reflected on the current refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, drawing on the insights of churches within the region.
Taking part in opening panel discussion were the Anglican Senior Chaplain of St Paul’s, Athens, Canon Malcolm Bradshaw; Jill Rios, who recently worked for the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, the primary outreach ministry of St. Paul’s Within the Walls Episcopal Church in Rome, and Canon Aled Edwards, Chief Executive of Cytun- Churches Together in Wales – who has just returned from a trip to assess the refugee situation in Greece and Macedonia.
Kat Brearley, National Programme Coordinator for Presence and Engagement in the Church of England, and Rt Revd Patrick Rooke of the Church of Ireland, also reflected on the role churches can play in welcoming refugees and developing mutually enriching relationships of collaboration across diverse communities.
Andrew Khoo, a lawyer from the Diocese of West Malaysia and Anglican Alliance Advisory Council Member, closed the panel with an international perspective.
“Our delegates represent an inspirational range of expertise and insight from many different perspectives – with participants also attending from other regions of the Anglican Communion joining us to contribute from their viewpoint,” Rachel commented.
The aim of the meeting is to bring together Anglican & Episcopal churches in British Isles and Continental Europe to share perspectives on Church’s role in this region, find common ground and mutual learning, and identify potential areas of collaboration.
The 30 delegates will also discuss effective approaches to asset-based community development, human trafficking, actions on tackling poverty and inequality, and the church’s role in national and civic life.
During the consultation, hosted by the Church in Wales, participants will visit pioneering social responsibility projects set up by the Church in Wales, including the community garden at St Peter’s Church, Fairwater, Cardiff; the Faith in Families’ family centre in Bonymaen, Swansea, and the job club and credit union at St Catherine’s Church, Pontypridd.
“It is a great privilege for us to host this conference and to welcome the Anglican Alliance members. It comes at a crucial time in European affairs when we are all looking for direction in dealing with the refugee crisis in particular and all the ramifications of the mass movement of people,” said Canon Carol Wardman, Church in Wales’ Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society.
In his opening address, Most Revd Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, said that he was delighted to endorse the work of the Anglican Alliance, stressing the connection between loving God and loving one’s neighbour.
Further updates on the consultation will follow.
In the photo: the panel discussion on the Europe refugee and migrant situation. From left, Jill Rios, Aled Edwards, Rachel Carnegie, Malcolm Bradshaw and Andrew Khoo
Photo credit: Ilona Sabera, ACO.