Extra funds are now being distributed to the Church of Sweden’s work for refugees, both internationally and in parishes and groups of parishes. Photo: Magnus Aronson/IKON
The Church of Sweden is now distributing SEK 55 million to its work with asylum seekers and refugees – of the extra SEK 75 million that the General Synod decided on last autumn. The money will be used both internationally for humanitarian aid, for example, and in Sweden as support for the parishes’ work. The remaining SEK 20 million will be distributed later.
“A historically large number of people are currently in flight, and the Church of Sweden is with them throughout their journey. We are in the countries that are at war and in conflict and we are on the routes taken by refugees in Europe. In Sweden our parishes welcome refugees by providing a sense of community and practical support,” says Wanja Lundby-Wedin, first vice chair of the Central Board of the Church of Sweden.
“Helping and showing that we care about our fellow human beings is a self-evident part of Christian identity. Together with others, the Church of Sweden wants to help give people a good start in Sweden.”
Last autumn the General Synod decided to allocate extra funds, SEK 75 million, to the Church of Sweden’s work with asylum seekers and refugees. After consultation with the dioceses and other actors, the Central Board of the Church has now decided to distribute SEK 55 million as follows:
SEK 15 million to its international work for both humanitarian aid and long-term development measures.
SEK 25 million to work with asylum seekers and refugees in the Church of Sweden’s parishes and groups of parishes. The money is being divided between the dioceses in relation to the number of asylum seekers and refugees in each diocese; the dioceses can then distribute money freely to their parishes and groups of parishes.
SEK 15 million is being distributed to the dioceses to boost resources in the diocesan organisations to coach parishes and groups of parishes in their work with refugees.
The remaining SEK 20 million will be distributed at a later date.
Emergency and long-term measures
During the autumn of 2015 the Church of Sweden’s parishes provided emergency assistance for refugees who arrived in Sweden, such as temporary accommodation and basic necessities. Now the assistance consists more of various kinds of meeting places, psychosocial support, practical help in everyday life and opportunities for children to play. In the Church of Sweden’s parishes there is a need for long-term measures that can contribute to involvement, integration and social cohesion.
Globally speaking, humanitarian needs are growing as a result of the difficult refugee situation. For refugees in Iraq and from Syria, for example, the Church of Sweden is providing both emergency humanitarian aid and long-term measures. This includes everything from giving people a roof over their heads and warm clothes, to performing psychosocial work that helps to give people meaning and structure in their lives.
Wanja Lundby-Wedin, first vice chair of the Central Board of the Church of Sweden, who can be reached via Ewa Almqvist, press secretary, +46 705 469677.