Solidarity for Refugee Week at St Paul’s Church in the heart of Bedford

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St Paul’s Church, in the heart of Bedford town centre, will be commemorating Refugee Week this month with a creative installation on the theme of Solidarity.

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day (20 June), Refugee Week is globally recognised.

The St Paul’s Church installation will feature creative pieces that reflect the lived experience of those seeking asylum who tell their powerful stories of struggle and hope.

Partner organisations include BRASS (Bedford Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support), Yarl’s Wood Befrienders, Migrants Organise, local schools, local art groups and Soul Food Poetry.

Members of the public are invited to take a quiet and reflective walk around the church to view the installations, open 12.00-2.00 daily.

Earlier this year, Fr. Luke of St Paul’s took part in a campaign among other local faith and community leaders to raise questions about controversial plans to house 200 people seeking asylum on a temporary site adjacent to Yarl’s Wood IRC.

Read: Bishop of Bedford signs open letter of concern over asylum seeker accommodation at Yarl’s Wood

Concerns were raised about the suitability of the site and the potential impact on the wellbeing of the proposed occupants.

The plans have now been scrapped, and the site dismantled, with questions being raised about the process and the significant expenditure on the project.

Fr. Luke Larner, assistant curate at St. Paul’s,(3), said: “St Paul’s church, with its history of opening its doors to individuals from across the world from all walks of life, is ideally suited to host these displays and to be a point of reference for those seeking to be informed.”

Throughout the week St Paul’s will be running an online campaign including short interviews to hear more about the work many organisations are doing to support people.

Videos will be available on Facebook, Instagram and St. Paul’s youtube channel, with links and further information on their website.

Strict COVID precautions will be followed at St Paul’s in its large and well-ventilated space.

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