Churches Bring Hungry Refugees in from the Cold
Andrew Brown, Religious Affairs Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
This Christmas, hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers will be fed and helped by Christian groups because many are now not eligible for benefits. And for the first time in 50 years, the Red Cross will be distributing food parcels in Britain - to 200 asylum-seekers who attend a day centre in south London.
The changes in the benefits laws introduced by the Govern-ment were opposed by Cardinal Basil Hume and the Arch- bishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, and now churches in many parts of the country are trying to mitigate the effects of the new rules. The Bible is much clearer about asylum-seekers than about sexual morality: "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong" God said to Moses; and later: "The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."
In one of the dingy suburban streets of Brent in north-west London, a church hall has become a meeting place and feeding station for some of the 1,200 refugees in London left stranded by the present regulations. It is one of many such shelters. There is one in Brixton, south of the Thames, to which people have walked five miles for a meal. At the Welcare centre in Brent, they provide food parcels, communal meals once a week for up to 120 people, about half of them children, and legal services and help with welfare bureaucracy to many more. Although the Court of Appeal decided last autumn that local authorities had a duty to help save such people from destitution, this decision is being appealed against by the Government, and in the meantime, the levels of support being offered are hardly generous. The Church Urban Fund, an Anglican charity set up in 1985, …
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Publication information: Article title: Churches Bring Hungry Refugees in from the Cold. Contributors: Andrew Brown, Religious Affairs Correspondent - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: December 21, 1996. Page number: 3. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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