Toolkit helps churches support Afghan refugees

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A toolkit has been put together by the Church of England with information for churches on how they can welcome people resettling in the UK from Afghanistan.

The toolkit has been put together by the Church's Mission and Public Affairs team and offers helpful advice around community sponsorship, prayer and advocacy. 

The team said they had been overwhelmed by messages from churches and individuals concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and asking what they could do to help. 

In a foreword to the toolkit, the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, the Church of England's Lead Bishop for Refugees and Asylum, outlined the support churches could provide not only to new arrivals but those already in Britain awaiting the outcome of asylum bids.

"The challenge for the whole nation is to welcome these families and help them build new lives here in the United Kingdom," he said. 

"Alongside this is the reality that there are thousands of Afghan citizens already here and stuck in the asylum system awaiting a response to their claim.

"God's call on God's people has always been to welcome the stranger and help provide for them.

"So here is a fresh opportunity to live out this calling. It has to be very practical; hence this toolkit.

"It is not a quick short-term response that is most needed but a willingness to befriend families and support them for the long haul.

"It is also a call to stand up for justice and advocate for the most vulnerable."

The UK has promised to take in 20,000 Afghan refugees. 

On Friday the government announced it would be giving £30m in aid to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries, where many others have fled. 

The Church of England already has experience in welcoming refugees to Britain as a longstanding supporter of the government's Community Sponsorship scheme that was created in 2016 to welcome Syrian refugees.