Robert, from Uganda, has been granted asylum. This is great news.
Robert has thanked the many christian and other organisations which have helped him. St Chrysostom’s has had a part in this. Robert writes saying “Huge thanks to all members of St Chrysostom’s who helped me towards my success”
The Bishop of Manchester gave Robert his support and, writing to Fr Ian, Bishop David comments “I am delighted to receive a card from Robert giving the wonderful news that he has been granted asylum and can now really start to build his life here in the UK… I felt able to support Robert because I had met him, through your good offices, on a couple of occasions prior to being approached. I know that this has been a very long process for him and not without some very difficult moments along the way. I am very grateful for all the support that you and the church have been able to give to him during this long period of fear and uncertainty.”
Robert came to England as a student and, as a gay young man, feared returning to Uganda because of the horrific attitudes of the Ugandan regime to LGBT people. In that country same-sex acts are illegal and punishable by life imprisonment.
How did we contribute to Robert’s success at St Chrysostom’s? It’s really worth stopping and thinking about the answer to that. The answers are quite simple.
Firstly, we welcomed Robert as soon as he came to us to worship. We got to know him quickly, and he got to know us. We asked no questions, he knew all were welcome. He knew as a black person, as a gay person, he was welcome and could become quietly and easily part of our Christian community – no questions asked.
Secondly, we promptly supported Robert when he needed help. He was detained suddenly and we helped give pastoral support to him during his detention. We prayed and gave practical support.
Thirdly, we took action – we supported the campaign which was set up to support Robert. Petitions were signed by church members in his favour, we wrote letters, we encouraged the Bishop to take interest.
We are strengthened as a Christian community by our welcome and inclusivity. Look around among us at St Chrysostom’s and in our community – there are many ‘Roberts’ among us.