On Thursday, 8 August, St Paul's Cathedral launched an awareness campaign to encourage Melburnians to welcome refugees, as part of which a 23-foot banner was installed on the Cathedral's South-West spire. See how the banner was unfurled here. Hear what The Dean of Melbourne, the Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, told SBS Radio (click for an audio link here).
Dean Loewe said: 'Looking out for those who are less well off than we are stands at the heart of the Christian Gospel. Jesus' command, "what you have done to the least of these my brothers and sisters you have done to me" extends to displaced persons and refugees. This is why St Paul's Cathedral and the Brotherhood of St Laurence have joined in partnership to promote a full welcome to refugees’.
Dean Loewe explained: ‘St Paul's Cathedral has launched this awareness campaign because we already work with Asylum seekers and refugees. We exercise a ministry of welcome to them through our successful English as a Second Language Programs. Twice a week recent arrivals to our shores meet at St Paul's. Our program enables them not only to improve their understanding of Australia and English, but also provides a platform for them to share their stories of past hardship, and to give voice to their hope for a better future. All hope to become fully integrated members of our society, committed to life in Australia.’
Australia is uniquely placed to become a truly diverse and welcoming society. Dean Loewe concluded: 'For us, fully welcoming refugees, means building on our success as a nation to provide a new home, a new beginning for people from all sorts of backgrounds. Our awareness campaign invites fellow Melburnians to consider how we, as Australians and recent arrivals, can ensure that ours is indeed a nation where 'for those who've come across the seas, we've countless plains to share".'
Poster versions of the Cathedral banner are available for download and display here. A statement from the Cathedral's Chapter Bishop, the Rt Revd Philip Huggins (Bishop of the North-West Region in the Diocese of Melbourne) on offshore processing can be found here.