Take part in Racial Justice Sunday
14th September 2010: Expressing solidarity with migrants and displaced people, hundreds of churches across Britain took part in Racial Justice Sunday.
The theme of the annual event held on 12th September 2010 was ‘Migration: Building Bridges or Barriers?’ The center of attention was the practical and biblical question ‘who is my neighbour?’
The Catholic Association for Racial Justice and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland — the official ecumenical body for Anglican, Catholic, Free Church, Orthodox and other indigenous and Black majority churches across the four nations — developed materials for local congregations.
The materials used by local churches stressed the biblical call to welcome and embrace the stranger, in sharp contrast to the often unsympathetic, insensate and biased practices adopted by government towards migrants.
Bishop Patrick Lynch, chair of the Office for Migration Policy at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales declared last week the phenomenon of migration has always been part of human history.
He asserted: "Racial Justice Sunday gives us the opportunity to recognise the suffering migrants have experienced through misunderstanding, exploitation, insecurity, uncertainty, injustice and poverty but also to celebrate the rich cultural and spiritual patrimony of migrants and to give visibility to the ways they are enriching us in our parishes and dioceses.
“It is an opportunity not to be indifferent to those around us, ‘who unsettle us and do not look or speak like us’ but to identify them as our neighbours and to reach out to the people we do not know, to migrants, to refugees and people seeking sanctuary who share the pews in our parishes.
The International Organisation for Migration defines migration as ‘the movement of people either across an international border or within a State. It is a population movement, encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes; it includes the migration of refugees, displaced persons, uprooted people and economic migrants.
The Church recognises that migration of people, both voluntary and involuntary has turned into a structural reality of contemporary society.
It is a global phenomenon, touching all regions, crossing all ecclesiastical and national boundaries and affects millions of human beings.