Local churches can be a powerful force to help change the debate on immigration in Britain.
Over the last few years, and especially in the run up to the 2015 general election, public opinion has been divided over the impact of immigration on jobs, welfare and social cohesion. Cries of ‘It’s not fair!’ abound on all sides.
Meanwhile, Christians have long been at the forefront of welcoming the stranger, and providing care and advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees. Many people arriving in Britain are Christians too, such that some of the largest churches around the country are made up mainly of immigrants.
However, the effects of multiculturalism and the EU’s policy on free movement have led many people to support stricter controls on immigration. How should Christians respond to this, and what is the church’s primary contribution today?
This booklet consists of four sections:
- Part 1 examines immigration in contemporary Britain. It digs into the data, suggests some useful categories for thinking about immigrants, and explores perceived anxieties around EU migration.
- Part 2 offers a biblical foundation to the issue of immigration, considering how Israelite society responded to immigration, and how they were called to model something more than justice.
- Part 3 seeks to apply this biblical knowledge as a Christian framework for contemporary Britain.
- Part 4 proposes a set of initiatives for local churches to take as missional responses to the challenges and opportunities presented by immigration.
The links to the projects listed in Part 4 can be found here.
'The Jubilee Centre has published an important, timely and thought-provoking paper which wades into waters which many still find uncomfortable to dip toes into. In ‘Immigration and Justice: How local churches can change the debate on immigration in Britain’ the Jubilee Centre articulates a Biblically based argument to challenge the church to be the ‘yeast’ in society which Christ calls us to be, leading wider British society in welcoming the ‘alien and stranger’ in our midst whilst acknowledging the fears that accompany the changes being wrought by growing immigrant populations. As such, its practical suggestions for action, along with its rigorous thinking make this booklet a valuable tool for those wishing to think about, and act on this issue.'
Dr Sean Oliver-Dee, Fellow, Oxford Centre for Christianity & Culture, & Interreligious Advisor, Diocese of Peterborough.