The following message from Rev Alisatair Kirk (formerly of St Mary's, Burley), Rev Ruth Yeoman (formerly of St John's, Menston) and Rev Tim Perkins (Menston Methodist), is about this group which was set up in response to the refugee crisis in 2015:
We know that many of you will have already responded in your own way to the international refugee crisis, perhaps through a charitable donation or a volunteering opportunity. However, a significant number of villagers have asked Tim, Ruth and me how our communities (Burley and Menston) might play a part in responding to the current position. We held our first meeting on 14 September 2015 to discuss how we could play a more coordinated role in supporting existing charities and jointly develop other initiatives. We are a diverse group with different views but sharing one principle in common - we all want to live in a country and villages that we’re proud of and which embraces those in need. Everyone present was determined to do something tangible and ensure that individual efforts come together to achieve something bigger and more sustainable.
In response to people’s desire to do something tangible now, we are launching our first fundraising appeal to raise fund for War Child. War Child is a small international charity which provides life-changing support to the most vulnerable children whose families, communities and schools have been torn apart by war. They work by creating safe environments for children, improving their livelihoods, developing pathways to education and advocacy - see their website: https://www.warchild.org.uk/ We hope that villagers from Menston and Burley in Wharfedale will give generously to this fund so we can raise money as a community. We believe this will help to focus attention on the issue and inspire other people to get involved and take action. Also, it might inspire other villages to come together and raise money in this way.
In these terrible circumstances, we believe the power of working together is incredibly visible - it embodies our human/Christian values of connection and inclusion and how, together, we can be a powerful force for good. We believe that by uniting we will achieve more together in the long-term, rather than risk being a momentary flicker before life moves on to the next event, be it good or bad.
We have great hopes of what our group, Wharfedale Welcomes Refugees, will achieve and as a first step we have set up a JustGiving page so we can start to collect funds for War Child (see below).
We hope you will all be inspired to get involved to help provide respite, refuge and safety to those most in need. Please tell your friends to get involved.
Alastair, Ruth and Tim