Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 32,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo
Our search engine


Hallo again to all.

We are thankful that we do not need to decide or declare 'the dominant moral issue of our times'. There are so many moral issues that it’s hard even to think about which might loom largest. So often, alas, a 'moral issue' is about other peoples' morals, often related to sexuality or gender. One's own behaviour is never referred to as a moral issue; rather, we tell others to modify their behaviour because of our moral beliefs. Almost invariably, the moralist calls them religious beliefs and not moral beliefs.

Then there are the big moral issues, for which it's difficult to tell others what to do because we really aren't sure ourselves. One of those is how to handle asylum seekers. Refugees, migrants, displaced persons, Vulnerable Persons: call them what you will, they are desperate and need someone's help. Throughout all of history, wars and famine and despotic governments have forced people to leave their ancestral homes, becoming refugees and asylum seekers, hoping for a better life. There is very little that an individual can do directly to improve the life of asylum seekers, but understanding the problem instead of hiding from it is surely a start.

Click on the image to see the full photograph by José Palazón of refugees climbing a razorwire fence at a golf course in Melilla to reach European territory.

Through the years we have seen countless statements and press releases from archbishops and Anglican primates and even individual dioceses on the treatment of asylum seekers. Earlier this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote an impassioned statement about the refugee crisis; it begins 'This is a hugely complex and wicked crisis'.

Historically, few countries have been interested in absorbing the influx of people who are different from them. Even the USA, which (approximately) was created from wave after wave of refugees and asylum seekers, over time developed policies to stop further flow. The sad story of the German ship St Louis, whose failed effort to find asylum for a thousand Jewish refugees became the subject of a book and movie, is perhaps the most iconic example of asylum seekers being turned away. Today the USA is grappling with the (mostly political) issue of migrants from Mexico, who aren't seeking asylum but toleration.

The world's eyes are on Europe's migrant crisis right now. Every day we hear reports of refugees dying in a desperate attempt to reach Europe, and more reports of various governments refusing to accept those refugees. The train tunnel from France to England sees daily attempts by refugees to walk through to England in search of a better life. Australia and New Zealand have dealt with asylum seekers for decades. It would appear that the civil war in Syria has created much of the current influx, but there is always something, somewhere, that makes people so desperate that they leave their life behind, risking death to settle somewhere else.

We are impressed by how hard these refugees work to achieve their goals. They keep trying, keep pushing, keep finding more strength when they didn't think they had any left, until they are dead or until they reach some stable stopping point. We'd love to have employees who work that hard.

Last year Britain's The Guardian newspaper ran an article entitled 'Europe's migrant influx: "we need help but we don’t know where from"'. It includes a stunning photograph of hundreds of African refugees crammed into a boat that is much too small. We'd show a thumbnail here, but it's copyrighted and we don't have a license to use it. When you click here to see the photograph, do take time to read the article.

No one seems to know how to help, and we suspect that secretly many people don't want to. After all, these refugees aren't like us. They don't speak our language and don't attend our church and don't wear clothing that looks like ours. And after 40 days on an overcrowded boat, they probably smell funny. But surely we can make an effort to be aware of the problem, look for ways to make some small contribution to a solution, and tell our governments the importance of finding a solution.

Every person, living or dead, who has ever contributed to Anglicans Online is the descendant of immigrants. Our forbears were lucky enough to have lived through their voyages and to have found a productive life in their adopted countries. If you like what we do, remember that we wouldn't be here if our (relatively recent) ancestors had died or been denied residency or asylum. Join the effort to help ensure that in the future there will be new blood, either these migrants or their descendants, who can bring to writing the same energy and passion that they bring to breaching razor-wire fences and running through rail tunnels.

If we knew exactly what you should do to help, we would tell you, but maybe you can help figure it out. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in his message about the refugee crisis, noted 'The Church has always been a place of sanctuary for those in need, and Churches in the UK and across Europe have been meeting the need they are presented with. I reaffirm our commitment to the principle of sanctuary for those who require our help and love.'

See you next week.

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

6 September 2015



A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2015 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to