On Sunday, 16th June 2019 at St. Chad’s Parish Church, Rochdale, over 100 people gathered to witness the signing of a unique agreement between Faith & Civic Society Leaders.
The ‘Covenant’ is a statement of support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees seeking sanctuary in Rochdale. Created by RADAR – Rochdale Action with Destitute Asylum Seekers and Refugees – the agreement affirmed the resolve of many voluntary, faith and civic leaders to work together to offer welcome, support and practical help to people experiencing destitution and with no recourse to public funds.
The signing of the Covenant during a service that included testimonials from asylum seekers and refugees was accompanied and celebrated by a newly formed Refugee Choir that lifted the spirits and their song filled every corner of the parish church.
Speaking on this very special occasion was John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, who has made available a four bedroomed flat for asylum seekers. The emergency accommodation is at St. John the Baptist Church, and will be part of the RADAR offer to people in need. Bishop John spoke eloquently of the need to see the generous work of volunteers in Rochdale within the global context of climate change and conflict that was depriving so many people of a livelihood and forcing people to abandon their homes and land and become both economic migrants and refugees. The Rev Mark Coleman has supported RADAR from its beginnings and organised the event thanked everyone for their prayers and support.
Rochdale now looks forward to the establishment of a new Caritas supported project for asylum seekers in Rochdale in partnership with RADAR and the wider community.