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Friday, 11 September 2015

Anglican Agency Us launches a Rapid Response Fund to assist the Diocese's outreach to refugees

Refugees in Budapest: Photo Credit: Daniel Fekete/ Hungarian Interchurch Aid / ACT Alliance / WCC
Thanks to the Anglican mission agency Us (formerly USPG), a way for individuals and churches to respond to the refugee crisis in continental Europe has opened up via the agency's Rapid Response Fund.

Us has issued an appeal for donations to fund the Diocese in Europe as it reaches out to refugees arriving throughout the continent. A statement on the Us website reads:

"The Diocese in Europe is working on the frontline with refugees, and has asked Us to be the official agency for Anglican churches in Britain and Ireland to channel donations for its work; and we can receive donations from any country.
Your donations to our Rapid Response Fund will help the diocese to provide emergency medical support, food, shelter and pastoral care for refugees.
Initially, there will be a particular focus on the situation in Greece and Hungary.
Bishop David Hamid writes: 'Thank you so much for your support at this critical time. ‘Due to staffing limitations in our diocesan office, it would be best if Us could collect the funds and transfer consolidated funds to the diocese for use in Greece, Hungary and where there is need. We have an efficient process agreed that will help our partners working on the ground.’
Please make a donation to our Rapid Response Fund today. Your donations will be focused on Greece and Hungary.
One estimate states that 160,000 people have arrived in Greece so far this year, with many fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
The need for healthcare is particularly acute. Many refugees, including the elderly and children, are arriving in need of urgent medical care, but Greece's overstretched public resources, and a lack of medicines in the country, mean many refugees are going untreated. Your donations will help.
In Hungary, volunteers from church and community have been distributing aid packages. At the weekend (5 Sep), members of St Margaret's Anglican Church in Budapest gave packages to refugees at Keleti International Train Station. The Revd Dr Frank Hegedűs said: 'The refugees appeared well dressed and groomed, though also obviously exhausted from their journey. The language barrier was sadly formidable, but there was absolutely no sign of violence or disturbance.'
Us Chief Executive Janette O'Neill said: 'We are so pleased to offer our services to mobilise a response, supporting our sisters and brothers of the Diocese in Europe.
'They are meeting refugees on Europe’s frontline with both compassion and much needed tangible support.
'We want to play our part in helping equip them with the essentials that will signal to the refugees that their journey has turned a corner and safety and respite from war in sight.'
Please make a donation to our Rapid Response Fund today."

I am very grateful to Janette O'Neill and her staff at Us who have worked closely with the diocese to enable this rapid response channel. Us is a church-based charity working in direct partnership with Anglican Churches around the world. Founded in 1701, for over 300 years it has been sharing God’s love through practical action, and seeing lives transformed. Much of the early work of this diocese was begun by the Us which has been known in the past as USPG or SPG.

The Us website is here.

These prayers for the refugees are on the Us website:

Lord God of wilderness, wave and wind,
you travel with the wanderers of the world.
Stay close, we pray, to all who live
with loss, in terror, and adrift,
and spur us on to build a world
where there is truly room for all.

Lord Jesus, you came among us
homeless, and as a refugee.
Shake our complacency,
rekindle our compassion,
and help us challenge our leaders
to forge a common strategy
that is both truly just, and fair.