The Bishop’s Lent Appeal 2023
Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing their homelands to escape violence and persecution, as the world continues to be an unsafe place for many. In the past couple of years there have been increased numbers of people arriving in the UK from Afghanistan and Ukraine as well as many other countries.
This year’s Bishop’s Lent Appeal 2023 will replenish the Welcome Fund which supports churches and projects in the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham working with new arrivals. Find out how you and your church can promote and donate to the Bishop’s Lent Appeal 2023 here.
Bishop Paul said, “I am very thankful for all the ways that the Welcome Fund has been used to help churches to respond to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, especially through hospitality and practical support. Compassionate action should be the natural response of those who are seeking to walk in the way of Jesus.”
The generous response since the appeal launched in 2016 has enabled many churches in the diocese to receive grants to support hundreds of distraught people in their parishes. However the funds need to be replenished as we continue to respond to great need.
The fund has helped Tetiana who fled Ukraine with her young son. She said, “I only felt safe when we arrived in the UK. We had other difficulties, language and adapting but these were nothing compared to finally feeling safe. Hosting can be compared to support for a small child who is not yet able to walk, talk, orient himself in space and independently work and earn a living. This year we have become stronger and more stable.”
Previously, the fund has been used to support translators and English lessons for refugees and asylum seekers. In 2021, St Nic’s in Nottingham gifted an Easter Egg with an origami craft and a card to all asylum seekers housed in the hotels in Nottingham in order to welcome them to our community, demonstrate the love the church has for them and let them know they are thought of.
Similarly, the West Trent Benefice used their grant to arrange regular informal meetings for hosts and families to exchange information, offer help with language problems, provide any emergency assistance or advice that might be required, and encourage involvement with the community.
In 2022, the diocese launched the Supporting Ukrainian Refugees initiative to help match hosts and people fleeing the conflict with Russia, but a year on, the need for hosts continues. If you feel you could host, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcoming the stranger, offering hospitality and practical acts of generosity and kindness are needed more than ever. Please support this year’s Lent Appeal with your prayers and your giving.
Find out how you and your church can promote and donate here.