Uniting Churches across the country offer sanctuary to asylum seekers
Pictures (gallery): Rev Margaret Mayman from Pitt Street Uniting Church addresses those gathered and is interviewed by the media, the #LetThemStay rally at the Department of Immigration Offices
The Uniting Church in Australia has agreed to offer sanctuary to the 267 asylum seekers to prevent their return to Nauru.
Yesterday’s High Court decision upheld the Government’s right to detain people in immigration detention centres, with 267 people including 37 babies facing imminent removal.
At a rally today hundreds gathered outside the Department of Immigration offices in Sydney, appealing to the Government’s sense of compassion, to protect these vulnerable people and allow them to remain in Australia.
Rev. Dr Margaret Mayman, minister at Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney, attended the rally joining Churches across the country offering a safe sanctuary for asylum seekers.
Addressing the crowd with fellow organisers, Rev. Dr Margaret Mayman said, ‘A legal decision may have been made but we are now faced with a moral decision to protect these vulnerable people who are not illegal, who have the human right to seek asylum in Australia.
‘With other faith communities I am pleased that we are going to be taking some risks and I encourage all of you to find ways that you can to continue to put your bodies on the line and to stand in solidarity with these most vulnerable people.
‘Every human being is made in the image of God. Every human being is deserving of respect and of a life that is lived in the sense of well-being. This is not happening. We can do better than this. We can let them stay.
‘The Uniting Church wants to offer sanctuary which is an ages old tradition in faith communities where people cross the threshold into our places of worship and we will protect these people who are fleeing from persecution. We as a Church have a responsibility to protect and care for them as human beings.
A number of other Uniting Church congregations are considering offering sanctuary.