To the town of Seaford and members of our community, As the Rector of Bishopstone and East Blatchington Churches I have been greatly moved by the energy and outpouring of goodwill that has emerged for the task of resettling and welcoming Ukranian Refugees. I thank you all for getting in touch with me with your messages, queries and offers of support. I’d like to share an update on what I plan to do next.
We are very aware that churches are being named as a key vehicle for the government’s plan but as you will know, there are still lots of unknowns about how the resettlement and accommodation will actually work in reality. However, I have been in touch with my fellow church leaders in Seaford to see if we can work together to help with the coordination of the response for this area.
I can share that we have registered the churches of St Peter’s, St Andrew’s and St Leonard’s with the Sanctuary Foundation and will be attending the information briefing they are providing on Wednesday evening. Once we have learnt a little more church leaders will meet and then seek to form a working group with local councillors and stakeholders. This will help us look at the best way of channeling our resources, to support and co-ordinate the goodwill that is coming from right across the community. We plan to make contact with the Refugee Community Organisations but will need those with Ukranian links to help us with this. If you have Ukranian links, speak the Ukranian language and/or know of any families who are specifically seeking sponsorship, please get in touch with us as you will be vital to any further development. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our hope will be to begin preparing for the wider requirements should they be needed in the coming weeks. There are things we can begin very quickly such as fundraising and preparing materials but it is important we do this in line with guidance from those who are experienced with the settlement of refugee people or families. We are incredibly moved by the scale of compassion and generosity being shown by our community and will willingly seek to support you and co-ordinate any effort where we can; but ensuring that we are ready to sensitively and skilfully welcome any families or people who find themselves making a new home in our community.
For those seeking space to pray, reflect, or light candles, please accept my invitation to come along to Bishopstone Church at 6pm on Wednesday, 16th March evening.
Rev'd Arwen Folkes Rector of East Blatchington & Bishosptone