Canberra, 9 March 2016
‘Refugee Lives Matter’ proclaim banners at more than 20 Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic and Uniting Churches and the Quaker Meeting House in the Canberra region. And more banners are going up every day.
As well as displaying the banners a number of the churches have announced that they will provide sanctuary to refugees.
The striking green and black banners remind people of their common humanity and alert them to the forthcoming nation-wide Palm Sunday rally for refugees with the Canberra event at 1pm March 20 in Garema Place.
“There is growing, outspoken support for refugees from the church community across Australia,” Dr John Minns spokesperson for Canberra Refugee Action Committee said today. “I am especially impressed by the way in which Canberra’s faith-based community has stepped up to support people who have fled persecution in their home countries only to confront more persecution in the form of indefinite detention at the hands of the Australian government.
“As we are finally putting a human face to people the government has tried to keep faceless, churches, health care professionals, unions, educational institutions and other bodies and individuals are increasingly demanding justice for these vulnerable people.”
Reverend Lynda McMinn of All Saints Anglican Church Ainslie which has offered sanctuary to refugees said, “People who attend church are not naturally people who break the law, but there is such a travesty of justice happening right now, that the church is finally having a voice to speak up against it. We know these issues are complicated but to address them by locking people up in concentration camps is never a just response.”
A number of Lutheran churches are hosting banners and Paul Meyer an active lay Lutheran said, “Lutheran churches in Canberra heed the call to welcome strangers into our communities. Many Lutherans in Australia are descendants of earlier refugees and we understand the need to welcome others today, as we were welcomed.”
Kay de Vogel Clerk of the Quakers’ Canberra Regional Meeting said that Quakers had a long history of supporting the oppressed. “We feel called now to offer sanctuary to support vulnerable asylum seekers in Australia who may be re-traumatised by being returned to harsh conditions in Nauru,” she said.
Dr Raymond Canning, a parishioner from Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Watson, said he was inspired by the passage in Matthew 25 where it is demonstrated that Christians need to show compassion for the poor, in particular the homeless and the refugee. As the text reads, “I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me… as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me…”
Representatives of Canberra churches available for interview at All Saints Anglican Church Cowper Street Ainslie 11.30 am Wednesday, 9 March.
RAC spokesman John Minns is available for comment on 0407 483 952.
CANBERRA AND REGION CHURCHES & CHURCH CENTRES DISPLAYING REFUGEE LIVES MATTER BANNERS
- All Saints, Anglican Church 9-15 Cowper Street Ainslie
- St John’s Anglican Church cnr constitution Ave & Anzac Park West Reid(two banners) also St John’s Care
- St Thomas More’s Catholic Church, 30 White Crescent Campbell
- St Mary in the Valley Anglican Church Calwell (two banners)
- Canberra Baptist Church, 11 Currie Crescent Kingston(two banners)
- Society of Friends, Meeting House cnr Condamine & Bent Streets Turner
- St Phillip’s, Anglican Church cnr Macpherson and Moorhouse Streets, O’Connor
- St James Uniting Church 40 Gillies Street Curtin
- Canberra City Uniting Church 69 Northbourne Avenue Canberra City
- St Alban’s Anglican Church Lyons
- St Simon’s Anglican Church, Kaleen
- St John the Apostle Catholic Church, Kippax 25 Blackham Street Holt
- Wesley Uniting Church National Circuit Forrest
- St Benedict’s Catholic Church Jerrabomberra and Sturt Ave Narrabundah
- Mary Help of Christians Parish, Catholic Church Pearce
- Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Gowrie
- Holy Cross Lutheran Church Emu Banka Belconnen
- Holy Covenant Anglican Church, Cook
- Immanuel Lutheran Church, 37 Burnie St Lyons
- Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture 15 King’s Avenue and Blackall Street
- Catholic Care, 57 Hicks Street Red Hill
- Merici College, Wise St Braddon
- St Paul’s Anglican Church, Narooma
- St Augustine’s Catholic Church, Yass
Churches in the process of putting up banners
- St Peter’s Lutheran Church 6 Boolee Street Reid
- Immanuel Lutheran Church 37 Burnie Street Lyons
- St Ninian’s Uniting Church, Kippax
- Nations Heart Christian Community, Belconnen
- Calvary Hospital Bruce
- All Saints, Anglican Church Bodalla
- Bungendore Anglican Church
- Queanbeyan Uniting Church