Earlier this week, The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, welcomed refugees and asylum seekers – who hail from all over the world – into his home, and into Coventry.
Over the last few years, we have witnessed some of the world’s most incendiary conflicts and crusading political persecutions spring up in different continents across the globe; displacing millions from their homes and altering their lives forever.
As a city with a proud and extensive history of supporting those deemed ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ under the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, Coventry has continuously led the way in helping to resettle those who are in need of protection, taking in over 1000 individuals from countries such as Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria and Hong Kong to name a few, since 2014.
This week, The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Cocksworth, invited refugees and asylum seekers from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, and Hong Kong to his home for a garden party, in a beautiful congregation of faiths, cultures and humanity.
With an enticing display of food and refreshments catering to each culture and religious group, the welcome party served as a gentle reminder that despite differences in culture, religion, and languages, we all share one common right and desire: to live in peace.
The new arrivals were joined – in the case of the Ukrainian families – by their respective hosts as well as those who have supported new arrivals for many years including representatives from Coventry City Council, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, Coventry’s Ukrainian Association, St Francis Employability, St Peter’s Hillfields and Carriers of Hope.
Highlighting the importance of peace, unity and reconciliation, The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, said:
“After what has been an undoubtedly traumatic and anxious-ridden few years, and months for our newest families, it was a great joy to see them all here happy, healthy and smiling.
“To have faced the worst of humanity but emerge with a smile and desire to live peacefully, and build a better future for the world, demonstrates a heroic strength of character and stands as a testament as to why, we, as a nation, should be supporting the integration of the most vulnerable arrivals in our society.
“Those who become refugees or asylum seekers do not do so by choice and we must not forget that.
“It also fills me with immense pride to see Coventry continuously unite to protect and fulfil its moral obligation of supporting new arrivals. The selfless attitude to support others in their time of need is evident throughout the city and is why Coventry proudly stands alone, as the UK’s only city of peace and reconciliation”.