Europe is experiencing the largest number of refugees since World War II. This is bringing attention to a steadily growing global crisis of human displacement, born of war, inequality and environmental degradation.

According to a 2016 survey by Meeting for Sufferings, the national Quaker representative body, more local Quaker meetings are working to welcome people forced to flee their homes than on any other issue. Responses include setting up and supporting City of Sanctuary groups, befriending newcomers, protesting at detention centres, sourcing and providing accommodation for refugees, sending donations to Calais and Dunkirk and in some cases helping out in refugee camps in person.

On a national level, Quakers have joined with others to call on the government to take a fair and proportionate share of refugees from both Europe and beyond and to establish safe and legal routes to the UK.

Supporting Quaker action

In recognition of the current situation, of our history of helping refugees and of the significant concern being shown by local meetings, Meeting for Sufferings has requested the scoping of a centrally managed programme supporting Quakers to take action and advocate for change together. It also hoped that the resultant programme will play a part in changing the present hostile media attitude towards people on the move.

A process of scoping, research, preparation and educational events is currently underway, including a threshing tour of meetings this spring. Friends will also mark Refugee Week 19–25 June.

If you are taking action to improve the lives of refugees and/or would like to share your experience or ideas with us, please get in touch with Tim using the details below.

Refugee Week

Refugee Week is the UK's largest festival of arts, education and cultural events drawing attention to the situation of people seeking sanctuary.

All our welcome to our free Refugee Week events (Booking link to follow soon):

Date and time

Event

Venue

Monday 19 June, all day

Library open day

Initiatives to welcome people seeking sanctuary through history

Friends House Library

Monday 19 June, 18:30

Undoing Borders in our minds

Co-authors of The Good Immigrant Coco Khan, Darren Chetty and Vera Chok, discuss what an anti-racist media would look like, chaired by Dalia Gebrial (Undoing Borders /People&Planet).

Friends House Bookshop

Tuesday 20 June, 12:30

Meeting for Worship (Semi-programmed)

Join us to contemplate on the issues Refugee Week draws attention to, at a semi-programmed Meeting for Worship.

Friends House worship space

Tuesday 20 June, 18:30

World Refugee Day: Sanctuary Stories

Authors of Refugee Stories, A Country of Refuge, and Over land over sea discuss their stories.

Friends House Bookshop

Thursday 22 June, 18:00 for 18:30 start

Seeking Sanctuary in fiction

Novelists Sita Brahmachari, (Red Leaves), Jason Donald (Dalila), Tim Finch (House of Journalists) and Roma Tearne (The Swimmer) discuss the representation of immigration in fiction.

Friends House Bookshop

Saturday 24 June

Binding books, binding friendships.

Bookbinding workshop with the Wretched of the Earth collective.

Friends House Bookshop

Sunday 25 June

Sanctuary Sunday

Many local Quaker meetings will hold either all-age themed meetings for worship or discussions afterwards on the Sunday of Refugee Week.

Churches and Quaker Meeting Houses across Britain


Contact us

Tim Gee
Forced Migration Programme Developer
020 7663 1096
timothyg@quaker.org.uk