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MEDIA RELEASE – 4th February, 2016

CATHEDRALS AND CHURCHES AROUND AUSTRALIA OFFER SANCTUARY TO ASYLUM SEEKER FAMILIES FACING DEPORTATION TO NAURU


Brisbane’s St John’s Anglican Cathedral, amongst others, has been declared a place of sanctuary for asylum seekers facing deportation after yesterday’s High Court decision which allowed for their imminent removal to Nauru.

Anglican Dean of Brisbane, the Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt says he is declaring the church as a sanctuary, given the trauma and abuse these asylum seekers face if deported.

“The High Court’s decision means 267 people including 37 babies face imminent removal to Nauru.  They could be issued notices at any time and ordered to leave Australia within 72 hours,” said Dr Catt.

“This is a hugely significant action for any Australian church to take.  Historically churches have afforded sanctuary to those seeking refuge from brutal and oppressive forces.

“We offer this refuge because there is irrefutable evidence from health and legal experts that the circumstances asylum seekers, especially children, would face if sent back to Nauru are tantamount to state-sanctioned abuse,” said the Very Rev’d Dr Catt.

“This fundamentally goes against our faith, so our church community is compelled to act, despite the possibility of individual penalty against us”.

“It is an extraordinary step.  It is a step that will attract the attention of church communities around the world.

“The ancient principle of sanctuary goes back to The Old Testament, and was enshrined in English Common Law.  Where a state is causing grievous harm, churches can provide sanctuary and immunity from arrest by authorities.  The legality of Sanctuary has never been tested under Australian law, nevertheless we are determined to apply its moral precepts and protect the most vulnerable from certain harm.”

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer for the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, said that “Cathedrals that have offered to protect asylum seekers from deportation to a place where people face, rape, sexual assault, and unimaginable conditions, include: St John’s Cathedral Brisbane, St George’s Cathedral Perth, St David’s Cathedral Hobart and Christchurch Cathedral Darwin.

She also said that “many priests and vicars of local churches who feel compelled to provide the moral leadership that their position requires, have also offered Sanctuary. These include: St Cuthbert’s Anglican Church; Darlington, WA; Perth Wesley Uniting Church; Gosford Anglican Church; Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide; St. John’s Uniting Church Essendon; Paddington Anglican Church, Pitt Street Uniting Church and the Wayside Chapel in Sydney. Many other churches have offered to support the Sanctuaries in various ways”.

A press conference will be held on Thursday 4th February at 10.30am with The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane.

Media spokespeople:

The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, Chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce: 0404 052 494

       Misha Coleman, Executive Officer, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce: 0428 399 739

 

A pdf version available here.

Media Release

of Catholic Religious Australia

Faith leaders hold urgent meeting to call on politicians to restore the human dignity of refugees and asylum seekers.


Today more than 50 Leaders representing diverse faith groups met with Members and Senators at Parliament House, Canberra, calling on them to restore Australia's standing as a compassionate nation by winding back policies negatively impacting on people escaping violence, persecution and death.

 

For the full statement, please follow the link to the pdf here.

A multi-faith conference
21-23 August 2016


This multi-faith Australasian Conference reflects a growing interest in issues of faith and meaning in the lived experience of disability. The name of the Conference is drawn from the title of Miroslav Volf’s book, acknowledging the struggles and joys that are found in the experience of disability and faith.

For more, please follow the link: http://exclusionandembrace.melbourne/


Research shows that poverty has a direct impact on the economic, social and spiritual aspects of people's lives. The cycle of poverty and disadvantage once begun can be difficult to break and diminishes the individual and the society in which it occurs. The Salvation Army's experience with disadvantaged Australians demonstrates that without basic necessities being met, people survive but do not flourish as full participating members of society.

 

For the full Reflection and Prayer Guide which is on our Resources page, please read here.

Please remember to visit our Resources page, too!

Update

Below are a couple of videos for Anti-Poverty Week this year that show how difficult it can be to budget on income support payments.  Here are the links, please feel free to spread them far and wide via social media or any other outlets you have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzvrdoPsaew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftn7XvM8n_o

There are downloadable versions as well if you want to use the videos in meetings or events where you can't stream directly from YouTube:

http://www.sarmy.org.au/en/Social/vsppu/Publications/AntiPovertyWeek/

PRESS RELEASE 9 SEPTEMBER 2015


Sister Brigid Arthur, Acting Chair of the Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce, said today that the people had spoken, and this time the Government had listened.


“I prayed that Australia would open its hearts and its doors to people facing the greatest need for protection, as did so many others from churches and homes all across Australia”. She said that “it’s not yet clear what Mr Abbott means by prioritising persecuted minorities, but we need to remember that people of all faiths have suffered enormous loss, and that’s why they fled.”

“I’m so glad that people fleeing Syria and Iraq will be offered places that are additional to our existing quotas. The initial announcement would have been robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“I’m also so relieved that people will be offered permanent places in Australia – we still have so many thousands of people who are languishing in detention or even in the community, with no certainty about their lives, which is literally sending them crazy.”

The Taskforce is also calling on the Government to now process and release Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers who are rotting in Nauru and Manus Island, or who are in detention in Australia. Sister Brigid said: “the Government has recognised that people from these countries have no choice but to run for their lives, so there is no basis for not processing those that have already made it here,” she said.

“I am very distressed though to learn that included in this wonderful announcement today, is the decision to participate in the bombing campaign in Syria – how will Mr Abbott ensure that innocent people won’t be killed in strikes undertaken by the Australian Defence Force?”

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer of the Taskforce, said that “the increased aid money to neighbouring countries and refugees who have no food, clothing or shelter, via the UNHCR, is an enlightened move on behalf of this government. But I call on the Abbott Government to release the estimates of what it will cost the Australian taxpayer to participate in the bombing of Syria.”

Available for comment:

Misha Coleman
Executive Officer, Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce, 0428 399 739

Sister Brigid Arthur
Vice Chair of the Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce, 0408 101 134


Statement on Syrian and Iraqi Humanitarian Crisis


The Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) has issued the following statement in response to the Syrian and Iraqi Humanitarian Crisis:
As faith community leaders, we add our collective voice to that of many people in our Australian community who are appalled at the ongoing humanitarian crisis unfolding before the world and call on all countries to act quickly and concisely in addressing the plight of fleeing people.

Please click here to read the full statement.


The Uniting Church is renewing its call for the immediate closure of the Nauru Detention Centre! Please consider signing and sharing our petition to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton Minister for Immigration and Border Protection: http://www.justact.org.au/offshore_detention

https://www.facebook.com/victasuniting

 


Please find attached a statement from the Standing Committee of Victorian Council of Churches.


Pope Francis and Other Prophetic Voices are calling us to reject the ways of greed and violence and breathe new hope in the search for peace and justice.  These voices invite us to focus our attention on how we relate to God, to one another and to the earth. They remind us that we live in a troubled, unequal, often violent and anxious world, and that this places on us heavy responsibilities to renew our commitment to the public good, and respect the dignity of all human beings, especially the poor and the vulnerable. This event is open to members of all faiths, cultures and communities. Join us 17th and 18th September at St Michael’s on Collins.

Youth are also invited to come along and explore how to become the best you can be in a changing and diverse society. The youth forum Reshape Your World is a space where school and university students will engage with questions such as what is the world Pope Francis sees and is responding to? Are Francis’ eyes seeing right? Are these the issues? Are youth fired up about these same issues? If yes, what are they doing about them? If not, why not? What are you hearing from your peers? These are just some of the questions that youth will explore at the youth forum on 16th September at St Michael’s on Collins. Youth of all religion and faiths are welcome to attend.

Register at www.acu.edu.au/popefrancis

or
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tel: 02 9701 4176

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The Victorian Council of Churches held its annual Oration on the 4th August. It was held at Melbourne City Mission and the guest Speaker was Rev Tim Costello, the CEO of World Vision Australia.  His Theme was: The Challenges for Faith in a Globalising World.

The Focus of the thoughts I want to share tonight is Faith – and the responsibility (and opportunity) that people of Faith carry in an ever changing, ever emerging global community…   Read more… 

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