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World News

Church of England publishes toolkit on how churches can welcome people from Afghanistan

by Chantalle Edmunds

A toolkit, including prayer and theological resources, has been produced by the Church of England in response to churches and individuals concerned by the situation in Afghanistan asking what they can do to help. 

Staff in the Church of England's national Mission and Public Affairs team say they have been overwhelmed with messages  from those asking how they can practically and spiritually support those fleeing the Taliban takeover. 

The material, available online, brings together links and information on how churches can help through giving, community sponsorship, prayer and advocacy.

The toolkit includes a simple explanation of the two main resettlement schemes and the asylum system along with suggestions on how Christians can speak out on behalf of those unable to do so. It also details an array of charities and NGOs also working to support refugees and asylum seekers.

In a foreword, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Rev Paul Butler, the Church of England's lead bishop for refugees and asylum, said: "The challenge for the whole nation is to welcome these families and help them build new lives here in the United Kingdom. 

"Alongside this is the reality that there are thousands of Afghan citizens already here and stuck in the asylum system awaiting a response to their claim. 

"God's call on God's people has always been to welcome the stranger and help provide for them. So here is a fresh opportunity to live out this calling. 

"It has to be very practical; hence this toolkit. 

"It is not a quick short-term response that is most needed but a willingness to befriend families and support them for the long haul. It is also a call to stand up for justice and advocate for the most vulnerable."

The Church of England has supported a range of refugee programmes, including the Government's Community Sponsorship scheme set up in 2016 to offer support to Syrian refugees coming to Britain. 

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