World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Scottish group raises refugee awareness as Syrian war marks five years

Scottish group raises refugee awareness as Syrian war marks five years

Scottish group raises refugee awareness as Syrian war marks five years

David Bradwell. © Peter Kenny/WCC

22 March 2016

David Bradwell of Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees has been on a mission for the past six months trying to raise awareness on what individuals and churches can do to help those fleeing conflicts and wars.

The inter-religious group’s initiative came at a time when, in some parts of Britain, people were showing indifference or resistance to welcoming refugees.

Its latest meeting was 17 March on “The Refugee 'Crisis' - What can we do?” at St. Brides Roman Catholic Church, in Monifieth, eastern Scotland.

Many of the refugees are fleeing the war in Syria which on 15 March marked five years since it started.

In September 2015, the Church of Scotland, a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), developed a local response to the unfolding refugee crisis across Europe and beyond.

It is leading a joint response through the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees project.

"Each of us can do something to help," says Bradwell, associate secretary of the Church and Society Council, Church of Scotland.

Over the last few months, Bradwell has worked with local and national partners to help develop the Scottish faith community’s response to the refugee crisis.

"I have witnessed action taking place at a local level across Scotland, where communities are offering a warm welcome to Syrians arriving under the Home Office Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme.”

He noted that in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, church and interfaith projects have worked for many years with registered agencies and charitable groups to offer services to asylum seekers and to live and work alongside them.

“Partly as a result of the war in Syria, the numbers fleeing poverty and violence around the world is catastrophic, but whether in Calais, Greece, Italy or the Middle East, faith groups are responding to human need and protecting human dignity. Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees is here to support this effort across Scotland," said Bradwell.

Bradwell says, “We are working with Christian, Jewish, Muslim and interfaith groups, and through our commitment to each other seek to demonstrate that building on common values by acting in partnership we have our own story to tell of hospitality and welcome.”

The group can help equip communities of faith with practical ways to support refugee work, locally and in Scotland, and with partners across the United Kingdom, European Union and beyond.

Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees is backed by:

• Action of Churches Together in Scotland
• Church of Scotland
• Interfaith Scotland
• Methodist Church in Scotland
• Muslim Council of Scotland
• Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
• Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
• Scottish Episcopal Church
• The Salvation Army – Scotland Office
• United Free Church of Scotland
• United Reformed Church – National Synod of Scotland

Church of Scotland