CHURCHES in Enfield Lock are holding a joint carol service to raise funds to welcome Syrian refugees to the borough.
The service on Sunday December 11 brings together parishioners from five churches around Ordnance Road to raise money for the work of the Enfield Refugee Welcome Group.
The group is about to submit an application to the Home Office which could make Enfield one of the first boroughs to sponsor a family fleeing the war in Syria.
The Enfield Refugee Welcome Group of 40 volunteers has a fund-raising target of £20,000 to sponsor a refugee family and has the backing of 14 churches in Enfield and Palmers Green Mosque in Oakthorpe Road.
It has found private accommodation to house refugees and is looking for more people to help as befrienders to support them find their feet when they first arrive in the UK.
The leaders of the five EN3 churches said: “In an age where nations across the world appear to be putting up barriers that deny our common humanity, connectedness and dependence upon each other, London remains a beacon of cross cultural friendship and creativity.”
They said the nativity story has resonances with the refugee crisis of today.
“The story of Mary and Joseph – a couple from the margins of society, forced to travel far away from home and struggling to find basic shelter – reflects much of what we see today and reminds us that Jesus calls all to love our neighbours who are in distress.”
The church leaders – Reverend Vincent Sheehan from Saints Peter and Paul in Ordnance Road, Father Taemin Oh from St George’s in Hertford Road, Michael Witter in Totteridge Road Baptist Church and Reverend Alan Combes from Ordnance Road Methodist Church – said: “We reach out to those forced out of their country by circumstances beyond their control.”
They added: “Together this Christmas the EN3 Churches stand in support of those affected by the Syrian crisis.”
The chairwoman of the Enfield Refugee Welcome Group Alison Phillips said: “These people want to be self-sufficient. We will be helping them with English lessons, befriending them and being a welcoming face. Who knows what these people have been through.”
She added: “All of a sudden their lives have been turned upside down.”
Mrs Phillips said the group have come together to help people caught up in conflict.
“I think it’s a story of our time. It’s a test of our time. It makes you feel less despairing if you can someone in this situation.”
The carol service starts at St George’s Anglican Church in Hertford Road at 4.30pm on Sunday December 11.
People are also welcome to join in a one-off choir rehearsal event at 3pm. Julia Gregory, Enfield Gazette and Advertiser
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