The Church of England is joining calls to encourage its members to pray, act and give to those suffering in Iraq.
Churches are being encouraged to Pray.
The Archbishop of York issued three prayers for Mosul and the third of these can be used for all those fleeing persecution whether in Ebril, on Mount Sinjar or elsewhere in the country. A collection of Prayers for peace can also be found here on the Church of England website.
Further prayer resources for Iraq have also been offered by Tearfund and Christian Aid.
Churches are being encouraged to Act.
Individuals and Churches are being encouraged to download this poster and to display it in homes, churches and noticeboards to display their support for all religious minorities fleeing persecution.
The poster uses the Arabic letter, “N”, which has been daubed on the homes of Christians (often called ‘Nasrani’ in Arabic) in Mosul to identify them as targets for persecution or execution. This symbol has been picked up around the world as a way in which we can identify with those from all religious and ethnic communities who are being targeted by ISIS. As a church, we are committed to championing freedom of religion and belief worldwide as a fundamental and internationally recognised human right. Even in the UK, we stand firmly against any labelling or targeting of people on the basis of their religion, and we work for a society that continues to be welcoming and respectful of all faiths.
The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement on the situation in Iraq here. In the statement Archbishop Justin stated “It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history.”
The Bishops of Manchester, Leeds and Worcester have also called for asylum to be granted to those fleeing persecution. The Bishops of the Diocese of Lichfield have issued this statement.
Churches and individuals are being encouraged to write to their local MPs urging them to press the Government to increase Britain’s humanitarian efforts for all those affected by the crisis and to ask for asylum to be granted to a fair number of those who will be unable to return to their homes. Local MPs can be contacted via this site. The aim must be to assist those who have been displaced to return to their homes. In many cases this won’t be possible and alternative arrangements will need to be found.
UK humanitarian support has been welcome as has humanitarian support from the UN and others. But, the need is currently much greater than the support that is being provided. This will be a sustained crisis and support will be needed for the long term, as well as to meet immediate needs now.
Christians are being asked to Give.
Donations can be made to the Anglican Diocese for Cyprus and the Gulf which is part of the Church network functioning alongside the Kurdish authorities in the absence of the normal international relief agencies. The immediate need is funds for food. The next priority is providing accommodation for those sleeping in schools or even in the streets. People on the ground in Erbil expect even more refugees from the surrounding area. Funds from various church agencies worldwide are being pooled through this committee in the attempt to meet the needs of as many as possible, among both Christians and non-Christians, all who have lost their homes and livelihoods, and have been looted of all worldly possessions.
Churches can also fund the work of Canon Andrew White at St. George’s Church in Baghdad and his Foundation for Relief and reconciliation in the Middle East. Canon Andrew White has provided harrowing insight into the persecution being suffered by Iraqi Christians and the Iraqi people by ISIS.
Churches are also encouraged to give to Christian Aid’s Iraq Crisis Appeal. Christian Aid is responding to the humanitarian crisis by working through long standing partners that are operational in the North of Iraq and Kurdistan.
The above text is taken from the Church of England’s resource page on the Iraq crisis at https://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/international-affairs/north-africa-and-the-middle-east/iraq.aspx. The page will be refreshed regularly.