‘Let them stay’: Darlington church offers sanctuary to asylum seekers


Father Chris Bedding makes the church’s stance clear.
Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d449774
‘Let them stay’: Darlington church offers sanctuary to asylum seekers
Father Chris Bedding makes the church’s stance clear. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d449774

The High Court ruled last week that it was not illegal for the Government to send refugees offshore for processing.

Churches have joined hospitals, Premiers, teachers and ordinary citizens demanding the Federal Government ‘#Letthemstay’.

Darlington Anglican Rector at St Cuthbert’s, Chris Bedding, said his parish was not full of activists but instead ordinary Christians who answered to a moral code and were prepared to commit civil disobedience to offer asylum seekers sanctuary.

“We are getting organised for sanctuary and we believe we have a moral obligation from our faith and commitment to community to help refugees in Australia,” he said.

“Many of the parish here help refugees with schooling, food, housing and act as ordinary Christians doing the right thing.”

Father Bedding said the Perth Hills community had helped United Nations refugees in the past, those from Northam’s Yonga Detention Centre and those from all over Australia who needed assistance in re-settlement.

“We are at the moment formulating a contingency plan to respond rapidly to any asylum seekers at risk of being returned to Nauru by offering sanctuary,” he said.

“We join the St George’s Cathedral in Perth, Uniting Churches, Baptist Churches, the Church of Christ and the Josephite Sisters in offering sanctuary around Australia.”

Father Bedding said there were five churches he knew of in Perth that had adopted the #Letthemstay stance.

“In the late ’90s there were a number of non-government organisations who filled the gaps where the system fell down in offering support to many refugees and we received a little bit of seed funding from the government to do so,” he said.

“Today there is no funding and we find the funds in the church from the congregation reaching out to these people.”