We see every day in the news stories about refugees, asylum seekers and migrants fleeing poverty, civil war and climate disasters. Providing a good welcome for these new arrivals is part of our duty as Christians as well as being beneficial for us and our society.

We are called to do this in response to the Third Mark of Mission: To respond to human need by loving service.

Faith groups are often at the heart of welcoming new arrivals and this is certainly true in our diverse diocese of Southwark. We celebrated in Refugee Week last year our Stories of Welcome from the Diocese, covering a huge range from those offering homes for displaced Ukrainians, providing the necessities of life for asylum seekers in hotels, or helping children from Hong Kong settle into school.

We are also called to tackle injustice and structural issues in the Fourth Mark of Mission: To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.

The Woolf Institute in Cambridge, which explores the relationship between religion and society, is sponsoring a Commission on the Integration of Refugees which seeks to tackle structural injustices. I have had the immense privilege over the last year of being a member of the Steering Group which has helped to set this up, and am now a member of the Commission.

The Chair of the Commission is Lord (Alex) Carlile of Berriew, the Vice-Chair is the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, and the Convenor is Dr Edward Kessler. We are gathering evidence from a very wide range of sources, with the aim of producing a set of independent, politically-neutral recommendations to improve the experiences of those seeking sanctuary in the UK, and the communities which are welcoming them.

We are very keen to hear from faith groups and communities with experience of welcoming refugees and migrants. We have released a Call for Evidence, which will remain open until 31 March 2023. Evidence can be submitted, as an individual or an organisation, by completing the form on the website  or this PDF form.

Please return this to the Commission at: [email protected]

If you have any questions about the Commission or the Call for Evidence, please contact Chris Cooper-Davies, Head of the Commission Secretariat , and if you’d like to find out more about JPIC’s work, including welcoming refugees and migrants, please contact Nicola Thomas.