Sanctuary in Faith marks the occasion of Refugee Week 2021 by Abigail Sines

Christ Church Cathedral organised a number of events across Refugee Week (14-20 June), a mixture of in-person and online events, and in collaboration with others who are active across the Dublin City of Sanctuary network.

The ‘What’s the Story? Lives in Direct Provision’ speaker series took place online, with contributions from five speakers who are currently living in, or who have been through, the direct provision system. Video reflections, prepared in collaboration with the speakers, along with a recording of the composition ‘Journey of Life’ by Cherinet Ayele, which concluded the event, are all available to watch here:

The Homing Pigeons: Birds with Wishes Exhibition featured beautiful works of art
created by school children in Aleppo, Syria and included some moving messages
from the children about their hopes and dreams.

It was organised in collaboration with Syrian architect Muhammad Achour, founder of the group Places of ARcture. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to write post cards back to the children,
which will be assembled in a scrapbook and posted to Aleppo. The exhibition features on a short piece on the RTÉ website:

Over the weekend the grounds of the cathedral hosted a community craft market and the creation of a chalk footprint mural to symbolise this year’s Refugee Week theme: ‘We cannot walk alone’.

Over 50 people involved in the Sanctuary in Nature in Heritage group gathered at the cathedral on Saturday, 19 June, for the opportunity to tour the cathedral and to view the Homing Pigeons: Birds with Wishes exhibition. Lunch was catered by Our Table, and both lunch and transportation for the visit were kindly sponsored by Dublin City of Sanctuary. After lunch the group continued on to St Audoen’s park and along the quays for an urban nature walk, led by Andrew Lynch of Birdwatch Ireland.

The week concluded with a service of choral evensong marking Sanctuary Sunday on 20 June, World Refugee Day. Prayers were led by the Revd Dr Laurence Graham of Abbey Street Methodist Church, a church with over two decades of commitment to an ethos of welcome. The preacher was Pastor Ebenezer Segatu of Birhan Evangelical Church. He preached on the Parable of the Good Samaritan [Luke 10: 25–37], noting that those who knew about the loving God, the priest and the Levite, passed the injured man by while the outsider, the Samaritan, showed compassion. “Jesus showed that the right question is not ‘who is my neighbour?’ but rather ‘Am I a neighbour?’ In this
challenging time we are to be neighbours to those who are in need,” he stated.