The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is ‘Compassion’ and we are all encouraged to identify simple acts – everyday actions we can all do to stand with refugees and make new connections in our communities.

10 ‘Simple Acts’ are on the Refugee Week website, and the Diocese will be suggesting one a day through the week as per the list below. Please do join in and tag us on social media so we can see what’s happening in Southwark.

Welcoming refugees can feel like a job that is too big for any one of us, or we might think that we don’t know any refugees, or that there are none in our communities. This might even be true. But even if it is true, every one of us can still work to develop our own compassion, and to create a culture of welcome in the UK.

For some of us, that might mean frontline work directly with refugees and asylum seekers, providing them with material, social or spiritual support as so many individuals and communities in Southwark do, whether at day centres for asylum seekers, hosting displaced Ukrainians or sponsoring a refugee family.

But it could mean writing to your MP to protest the Illegal Migration Bill which will make it illegal to travel to the UK to claim asylum (if Egypt had implemented such legislation around 6 BC then Jesus, Mary and Joseph would have been turned back at the border or deported to Rwanda to have their claim considered there). It might mean talking to your friends about refugees and their stories, having first read a book or listened to a podcast. It might be as simple as posting a message of support on social media.

Politicians generally respond to what they think ‘the people’ are saying.

We are the people, and we need to say out loud that all people, including all refugees, are children of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.

Let’s put that at the heart of Refugee Week 2023.

Simple Acts:

Monday 19 June: Watch a film about refugees or showcasing refugee talent. Options for all ages.

Tuesday 20 June: On World Refugee Day, gather a group to share a meal with dishes from a range of cultures.

Wednesday 21 June: Read a book or a short story which will provide a new perspective on forced displacement. Ideas here.

Thursday 22 June: Show compassion by sending a message or having a chat.

Friday 23 June: Use your platform to share what you’ve learned and influence others!

Saturday 24 June: Gather a group and go for a walk together.

Sunday 25 June: Pray for refugees at your service, and consider what you can do to join the movement.

Download this Refugee Week Slide Pack- Simple Acts