Bishop John Arnold of Salford diocese paid a visit to the asylum seeker charity Revive last week in Manchester where he encouraged the refugees and asylum seekers to learn English to avoid getting any hostile attitude or behavior from citizens.
The Bishop met with the staff, a host of willing volunteers, as well as the refugees and asylum seekers, at Revive’s drop-in-center in Kersal,where the marginalized get a chance to share a beverage or a meal, are given advice, practical help, referrals, a place to socialize and most importantly, get to know one another.
Revive, run by the Spiritans is a Christian organization that works with destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Manchester.
Addressing them he said, “Always hold on to hope. Life has been difficult and you’re looking for a better life with us. I wish my country was a little bit more welcoming, but I say you are welcome here.
“I want you to be easily accepted and to find work, so I would encourage you to learn English. Here we are terrible with languages, so to learn our language will really help you.”
Anna Turner, the Social Work Coordinator at Revive, told Bishop Arnold about the daily reality of running the charity, shortage of space as well as the some of the other challenges they face. “Accommodation is a real problem, especially with Housing Benefit stopping for those aged under 23 years,” she explained. “Refugees and asylum seekers find it hard to integrate here,” she went on. “There is a real culture shock when educated solicitors and doctors are placed in night shelters with people addicted to drugs or alcohol.”
In response, Arnold said: “This is a truly cosmopolitan response to a cosmopolitan problem – this is what’s so great about Manchester. What you’re doing here is so important for the integration and empowerment of refugees.
“This is how I see the Church being missionary – it’s very impressive,” the bishop said.