The Syria conflict has generated one of the largest refugee crises since the Second World War. There are 4.1 million Syrian refugees outside the country, as well as 7.6 million people displaced inside Syria. According to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, Syrians make up the largest proportion of those who have been seeking to reach Europe by boat in 2015.
How to help
More than 200,000 people have lost their lives to date in the conflict.
On one level, this is an international issue affecting millions that requires an international response at the highest levels. However, on another level it is a human tragedy that provokes sympathy and a desire to act from people near and far. Like many other communities, the Diocese of London is working out how we are best placed to help.
The Diocese of London has commissioned Capital Mass – our joint venture with Church Urban Fund – to equip and encourage every parish in the Diocese to respond compassionately to the immediate and long-term needs created by the Syrian refugee crisis.
At a local level, action from churches in London is already underway. Individual churches and christians have sprung into action without prompting or publicity, to respond to clear human need in a variety of practical ways:
“We’re heading to Calais right now with clothing!”
“We’ve called a borough meeting to discuss our response.”
“We’ve given our offering to…”
“We’re exploring the creation of a drop-in centre.”
However, for some, the desire to act, but not knowing how, has been a repeated theme:
“I have space in my home how do I take a refugee in?”
“We run a Foodbank… I’m a psychologist… a language teacher… We want to adopt… We have funds… Please inform us where we can help.”
Capital Mass will help to support the responses of London churches through two phases: an immediate reaction, by partnering with four charities that work closely with refugees, and a long-term response, acknowledging that there is no quick fix to this crisis.
Visit www.capitalmass.org.uk to find out more.