Latest News

Search by....  news / reflectionsprayers / poems / Lucy Berry poems / worship resources / events



Leaders of four UK Churches have called on the Government to rethink the way it speaks about migrants.

Today leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church issued a statement on the situation in Calais, emphasising the importance of public debate being grounded in values of compassion and of decisions being made on the basis of facts.

They called on the Government to adopt language which better reflects the British values of compassion, hospitality and respect for human dignity and to promote a more informed and higher level of debate.

"The language in which the Calais situation is being discussed tends too often to demonise, denigrate or dehumanise the individuals seeking refuge in Britain. To talk of those gathering at Calais as a 'swarm', or 'marauding around the area' encourages people to see those in desperation as less than human, and so less deserving of sympathy, respect or dignity.

"The numbers involved do not warrant talk of an ‘invasion’ or ‘flood’ of migrants. The people at Calais represent a tiny fraction of the overall number of migrants who have entered the EU in the past year. In 2014, Germany took three times more asylum seekers than the UK's 14,000, and Sweden twice as many. France, Italy and Switzerland also granted asylum to more people than the UK.

"We welcome the affirmation by the Home Secretary that Europe would 'always provide protection for those genuinely fleeing conflict or persecution'. We share the concern of all involved to see a peaceful and humane solution to this particular expression of a far broader catastrophe."

The Churches have also asked the Government to recognise that most migrants cannot be returned to their country of origin and to accept the need for the UK to take its share of migrants.

The Jewish community in Britain is being encouraged to engage in prayer and spiritual reflection on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East

The Council of Christians and Jews' If Not Now, When? campaign urges Jews of all traditions to pray for the Christian community in the Middle East throughout the month of August.

The deputy director of the Council of Christians and Jews, Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, said that the month of prayer was designed to increase compassion and empathy for both sides of the organisation. "This unique campaign has united all dominations in the Jewish community, which is quite rare, to stand together. It is a springboard for the future," she said.

To inspire springboard for prayer and other forms of spiritual reflection, the council has also created a general resource with information about Christians in the Middle East and ideas for personal and communal responses.

Women from across Europe are experiencing life in a pop up monastery in Mariensee near Hannover, Germany seeking a chance to live in community, take time out and learn from people of different cultural backgrounds.

The Pop Up Monastery will welcome 50 women from 16 European countries and from Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic church traditions from 8 to 21 August.

The sharing of meditation, pilgrimage and discussion is to foster greater belief and enable a better understanding of what it means to live together.

It is an initiative of the Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women in cooperation with the Convent of Mariensee. The Mariensee Convent started 800 years ago according to the rules of the Cistercians and later transformed to a become a Protestant community.

Abbess Bärbel Görcke said: "We are looking forward to sharing our place and our way of living and working with women from all over Europe and hope that all of us can benefit from this beautiful place and the community we build."

One of the organisers, Carla Maurer of the Swiss Church in London, said: "With the Pop Up Monastery we hope to create the experience of a diverse community that is founded in our common faith in the God of justice. The Pop Up Monastery is an expression of our longing for peace and inclusion."

The Pop Up Monastery is a pilot project. It will be accompanied by a film team and a documentary film will be released in January 2016.

For more information:

Statue of the conceptual baron outside Salisbury URC © The Barons' Charter

In honour of the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary this year, an art trail has been set up through Salisbury – home to the best preserved of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta.

The trail features 25 life-sized statues of medieval barons representing the discontented barons of medieval England who created the charter, limiting the power of King John.

Read more: Magna Carta barons appear in Salisbury