Media release: Church leaders seek urgent meeting with PM on Manus

Media release: Church leaders seek urgent meeting with PM on Manus

From: Reverend Emily Worman, leader of Church in Progress MCC

Date: Friday, 22 December 2017

 

“In the spirit of Christmas, Christian leaders are today seeking an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to discuss New Zealand’s response to the refugees on Manus Island,” said Reverend Emily Worman, leader of Church in Progress MCC.

“Clergy across the country have endorsed a call for all of the refugee and asylum seekers trapped on Manus Island to be brought to New Zealand. On behalf of the more than 50 signatories from congregations up and down the country, I have requested a meeting with the Prime Minister today to urge her to show true compassion this Christmas.  We want urgent action to rescue these men who are suffering torture and violence on Manus.”

“The religious traditions associated with the text of the bible place great emphasis on the exercise of compassion and charity towards the poor, the sick, the oppressed and the foreigner living among us. While we now live in a secular society, these values are still important to our sense of morality, and at Christmas it is worthwhile to reflect on how well we live them out.”

One of the signatories, Reverend Andy Hickman from the Anglican Diocese of Wellington in Tawa said, “This tragedy requires a humanitarian response. We want to say loudly and clearly that faith-based groups in New Zealand are prepared to help in practical ways and will work closely with expert agencies to ensure a complete level of support and care is provided to these people and their families.”

“We are encouraged that many churches are uniting on this issue,”

“We thank PM Jacinda Ardern for the government’s offer to take 150 asylum seekers. We think that offer needs to be extended to all the people detained on Manus, and now we appeal to her to negotiate directly with the government of Papua New Guinea to facilitate their immediate transfer to New Zealand,”

“The Prime Minister cannot undo what has been done to the people on Manus. But she can give them a place to live in peace and safety. The first Christmas story is about a family in crisis looking for refuge. After being turned away multiple times, finally, someone let this family in and gave them shelter. Decisions, that involved sharing our resources, are never easy. Fear is the force behind the billions of tax dollars designated for military purposes. Hope and love will enable us to open our hearts and homes to these men who desperately need our help.” said Rev Emily Worman.

Open letter follows:

Dear Prime Minister Ardern,

We are now in the season of advent; the four weeks in the Church calendar before Christmas. Many in our society are preparing to spend time with family and friends, exchange gifts and celebrate during this time of year. There are those, however, who will not be afforded the opportunity to do so. Many hundreds of refugees on Manus Island are suffering in inhumane conditions and have been left to suffer grave bodily harm and possible death. At this time of year, in the spirit of compassion and generosity, we ask you to take all of these refugees in and grant them asylum.

The religious traditions associated with the text of the bible place great emphasis on the exercise of compassion and charity towards the poor, the sick, the oppressed and the foreigner living among us. While we now live in a secular society, these values are still important to our sense of morality, and at Christmas it is worthwhile to reflect on how well we live them out. Christmas celebrates the story of a poor refugee from an oppressed ethnic minority. Jesus, born in Bethlehem from a family out of Nazareth, had to flee to Egypt with Joseph and Mary shortly after he was born, threatened by the tyrant Herod the Great. Herod had ordered the massacre of all the firstborn children in Israel, hoping to destroy the threat to his political power that Jesus was to become. The holy family found themselves exiles in Egypt, waiting until the ruler who threatened them with death had been deposed. The refugees on Manus Island are in the same situation: having left their homes, fearing for their lives, they made their way to Australia. The only difference is the final element: rather than reaching safety they were imprisoned by the Australian government and abused even further.

All we ask is that in this season you remember that Middle Eastern refugee family all those years ago and show mercy and compassion to those refugees that find themselves in the same situation today. You have in your hands the power to end some of their suffering. You cannot undo what has been done to them. But you can give them a place to live in peace and safety. In the name of God most high, we urge you to bring all of the Manus Island refugees to New Zealand.

Signed,

Rev Emily Worman, Church in Progress MCC, South Auckland
Rev Dr George Armstrong, Emeritus Lecturer Te Rau Kahikatea St Johns College, Anglican, Auckland
Rev Ian Federick Faulkner, East Coast Bays Parish, Methodist, North Shore, Auckland
Mons. Gerard Burns, Te Ngakau Tapu, Roman Catholic, Porirua
Rev Chris Sullivan, Roman Catholic Permanent Deacon, Pakuranga
Rev Peter Williamson, Crossroads Papakura, Methodist, South Auckland
Rev Dr Bruce Hamill, Community Minister for IBPC, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ, Berhampore, Wellington
Rev John McAlpine, Anglican, Onehunga Auckland
Rev Anne Thomson, First Church of Otago, Presbyterian, Dunedin
Rev Dr Jason Goroncy, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
Rev Andy Hickman, Deacon & Youth Pastor, Anglican Diocese of Wellington, Tawa
Rev Lucy Nguyen, Chaplain, Anglican, Auckland
Rev Peter Bargh, Whangarei Anglican, Whangarei
Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks, New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, St Ronan’s Eastbourne, Wellington
Rev Jean Brookes, St Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, Auckland Anglican Diocese
Rev Sharon Ross Ensor, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Wellington
Rev Dr Paul Prestidge, Miramar Uniting Church, Presbyterian, Wellington
Rev Dr Lynne Frith, Auckland Methodist Central Parish, Methodist, Auckland
Rev Clay Nelson, Auckland Unitarians
Rev Dr Helen Jacobi, St Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, Auckland Anglican Diocese
Rev David Dowling, Wellington South Catholic Parish, Roman Catholic, Wellington
Rev ‘Alipate ‘Uhila, Mangere-Otahuhu Methodist Parish, Methodist Church of NZ, Auckland
Bishop Richard Randerson, Retired bishop, Anglican, Wellington
Rev David Bush, General Secretary, Methodist Church of New Zealand, Christchurch
Doreen.Wilson, Liaiason Waikato Rohe, Methodist Church of New Zealand, Hamilton
Rev Robyn Allen-Goudge, Whangaparaoa Parish, Methodist Church of NZ, Auckland
Rosalie Sugrue, Kapiti Uniting – Accredited Lay Preacher, Methodist Church of New Zealand, Paraparaumu
Rev Brian Turner, Co-Convener, EcuAction Canterbury, Methodist Church of New Zealand, Nth Canterbury
Don Baker, Retired Lay preacher and administrator, Johnsonville Uniting Church, Wellington
Veitomoni Siufanga, Chartwell Cooperative Church, Methodist Church of New Zealand, Hamilton
Rev. Barry Jones, Devonport Methodist Parish, Albany, Auckland
Rev Ieremia Amani Amituana’i, Superintendent of the Rotorua Methodist Parish, Methodist Church of New Zealand
Rev Josh Jones, St Georges, Anglican, Epsom Auckland
Rev John Rentz, St Columba Presbyterian, Tauranga
Rev Simon Williams, Warkworth Methodist Church, Methodist Church of New Zealand
Rev Desmond Cooper, Retired, Methodist Church of New Zealand, Wellington
Rev Scott Reeve, Blueprint Mission Unit, Anglican Church, Wellington
Rev Chris Darnell, St Mary’s, Anglican, Whitby
Rev Dr Jennifer Dawson, Associate Priest, Porirua Anglican, Pukerua Bay
Rev John Hughes, Vicar, Karori Anglican Churches, Wellington
Rev Tric Malcolm, Wellington City Missioner, Wellington City Mission, Anglican
Rev Andy Eldred, St Mark’s Carterton, Anglican, Carterton
Rev Kenneth Russell, Mornington Methodist Church, Dunedin
Rev Beverley Osborn, Retired, Methodist, Stewart Island
Rev Jon Hartley, Missioner, Anglican, Wellington
Rev’d Jethro Stephen Day, St Thomas’, Parish of Wellington South, Anglican, Newtown
Rev Terry Alve, Priest in Charge, St Hilda’s Upper Hutt, Anglican, Tawa
Rev Ian Leslie Clarke, Durham Street Methodist Chruch, Retired Presbyter, Christchurch
Rev Abhishek Solomon, Mahurangi Methodist Parish, Methodist Church of New Zealand, Warkworth
Pauline McKay, National Director, Christian World Service, Christchurch
Rev Kimberley Rowe, All Saints Parish, Anglican, Palmerston North
Rev Karl Dickson, Vicar, St Paul’s Waiwhetu, Anglican, Lower Hutt
Dr John Dennison, Associate Chaplain, The Anglican Chaplaincy at Victoria University of Wellington
Rev Helen Stephen-Smith, Retired, Anglican, Waikanae
David Tannock, Honarary Assistant Priest, Saint Barnabas’ Church Roseneath, Anglican, Wellington
Rev Cheryl Repia, Assistant Priest St Philip’s Anglican Church, Stokes Valley
Rev Andrew Barlow, Vicar, Avalon Parish, Anglican, Wellington
Rev Misilei Misilei, Wesley Methodist Church, Papatoetoe, South Auckland

(Added since media release went out …)
Rev Darryn Hickling, Linwood Avenue Union Church- Reverend, Union, Christchurch
Ronald William Malpass, member of Upper Hutt Uniting Parish, former President of the Methodist Church
Beverley Deverell, Accredited Lay Preacher in Kamo-Kaurihohore, Uniting Methodist/Presbyterian, Whangarei

ENDS

For media interviews contact:

Reverend Emily Worman Phone: 021 118 2906

Reverend Andy Hickman Phone: 021 987 737

Want to know more about the conditions for the refugees on Manus Island? Read the fact sheet prepared by the UN Refugee Agency here http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/publications/legal/5a38d18d4/unhcr-fact-sheet-on-situation-of-refugees-and-asylum-seekers-on-manus-island.html

Are you a New Zealand church leader wanting to join this action? Click here tinyurl.com/calltoactionmanus

 

 

 

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