From Greenbelt Blog:
Embrace the Middle East survey hears from UK Christians: ‘We want and need to do more for the Syrian refugees’
This is the clear message from our recent survey conducted into the views of UK churchgoers on the Syrian refugee crisis. Responses from over 1,000 Christians from a wide range of denominational backgrounds showed that UK Christians want to do more help Syrian refugees, especially the millions who are staying in the in the Middle East.
Encouragingly, more than eight out of every ten respondents said they had already taken some kind of action to help refugees who are still in the Middle East, although for more than half this was limited to prayer. Only one in four said they had donated to an emergency appeal for refugees still resident in the Middle East, perhaps because of concerns about where their money will end up.
More than two in three respondents believed that the British Government has not yet done enough to support work with Syrian refugees in Europe and the Middle East. In addition, almost one in three thought that the Church’s response to the crisis had been adequate.
As one respondent commented: ‘The Church never makes its voice loud enough on issues. We should take a lead, celebrate what we do and put pressure for change’. Another asked: ‘Where are the church leaders standing together to give a clear public message?’
While certain church leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of the Roman Catholic Church and Embrace patron Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK have spoken out, it seems UK churchgoers are perhaps looking for a clearer and more united lead from the Church. They are keen to respond in practical ways to the refugee crisis, and need guidance on what to do and how best to help. A striking proportion, 83 per cent, said they would like to do more to help this Christmas if presented with a practical way to do so.
At Embrace, our ministry is to support the witness and work of Middle Eastern Christians where they live. Four million Syrians have crossed the borders into neighbouring countries placing an enormous burden on our Christian partners as they seek to respond to the needs of refugees with love and compassion.
And so as we approach Christmas Embrace has been promoting our Alternative gifts, which offer people the chance to invest in practical gifts – stoves and fuel vouchers, food parcels and hygiene kits – which will be distributed by our Christian partners on the ground and which will make an immediate difference to the lives of Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
Photo by Paul Jeffrey
All figures are from Christian Research, using its Resonate’ panel. Total sample size 1055 from a cross-section of denominations (37.3 per cent Anglican, 10.8 per cent Baptist, 7.7 per cent Methodist, 7.4 per cent Independent, 2.9 per cent Catholic, 33.9 per cent Other). Not all respondents answered all questions. The survey was carried out online in October and November 2015.
More than four in five claim (83%) they would be motivated to help Syrian refugees this Christmas, if presented with practical ways to provide support.
One in four (28 per cent) have already donated to an emergency appeal.
One in three (31 per cent) would be willing personally to house a refugee or refugee family for up to a year.
Almost nine in 10 have taken or signify a desire to take some kind of action.
Two in five think the UK church nationally has not done enough, in comparison with more than two in three who consider the British Government has not (yet) done enough.