Refugees and Red Wednesday

Posted: 25th November 2016

Priory 6 and freedom of faith

Aid to the Church in Need’s ‘Red Wednesday’ was on 23rd November, a campaign for those who have suffered because of their religion.  At St Augustine’s Priory many Senior students and staff supported this by wearing red throughout the day.  This was an amazing way to raise awareness of the persecution suffered.  Here, Abbie Buchanan, Leah Mpinga, Anna Cunningham, Payal Mittal, Daniela Murru, Priory 6, write about their recent General Religious Education lessons which looked at refugees and some of the reasons why they flee their homelands, amongst them, religious persecution:

‘Recently, in General RE the Sixth Form have been learning about the life and struggles of refugees around the world who have left their homes to flee conflict.

First, we discussed who refugees are and came to the conclusion that refugees are people who are forced to leave their homes owing to conflict and war where they live. When thinking about who refugees were we thought of scenes of people packed into boats, Calais and young children.

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We also thought about how the media represents refugees and realised that most of the stories you hear in the news about people travelling through Europe are very negative, for example, stories about those few taking advantage of the system in the UK.

Then we thought about statistics of refugees around the world and which ones shocked us the most. These included…

* The number of people displaced from their homes every minute of every day is 24.

* The number of the world’s refugees being looked after by developing countries is 86%.

All of this research led us to learn about Aid to the Church in Need’s ‘Red Wednesday’ campaign which raises awareness of Christians being persecuted around the world. It encouraged people to wear red and even went as far to light up major landmarks in London such as Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament.

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The Red Wednesday campaign is one way in which we can, ‘be the voice of the voiceless’ and follow Pope Francis’ words to ‘wake up the sleeping’.

Elise Mercer, Priory 6, adds:

‘Red Wednesday is an important event as it helps those who are living in persecution because of their faith.  Red Wednesday was on 23rd November and used as sign of unity against persecution. People wore red to show their support for the cause.  I think that it is an important event as it helps those who are suffering to see that they are supported and that their faith can bring them through hard times. Not only will it bring hope to those who are being persecuted but it will also show others that Christianity is a widespread religion that has mass support. Because main landmarks such as Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral lit up their iconic facades, it helps to spread the awareness of the event and the cause. This will then in turn put pressure on the UK government and the international community to protect people of faith. It will then enable them use more resources to find solutions to the problems that are fuelling extremism and violence and to make the world a safer place, not only for religious followers but also for everyone.  This campaign is also significant as it is a way of showing unity without using violence, important as otherwise it would not only go against the Catholic religion but, also, if violence is used it would not be solving any issues as it would be a case of using violence against violence – not the best solution.

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Red Wednesday is an important event as it gives hope and support to all those practising their faith who are being persecuted. It will help give them hope in their suffering and show them that if we unite we can cause change.’

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