Would you like to hear some good news?
Last week in the 2022-23 Federal Budget the government announced an additional 16,500 places for Afghan refugees. You might remember back in January Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced the government would allocate 15,000 visas over four years for Afghan nationals fleeing the Taliban -10,000 within the existing humanitarian program and 5,000 from the family stream. Groups such as Christians United For Afghanistan protested that this wasn’t enough and was simply taking places away from other refugees.
Last week’s announcement, however, means 31,500 refugee visas will be offered to Afghan nationals over the next four years. It will help some of the most vulnerable Afghan people displaced by the crisis.
And we at Canberra Baptist were part of this! Our letter joined many letters from other churches and more than 162,000 people signed the Action For Afghanistan petition. (You can still sign by clicking the link!) And every mainline Christian denomination and the Australian Christian Lobby threw their support behind the Christians United For Afghanistan campaign.
This Sunday I will have another letter for us to sign! This time it is a letter thanking the government for these additional refugee places. We want them to know this issue is important to us!
And, following our church meeting, you are invited to join the Palm Sunday Rally (1pm at Garema Place) as we renew our commitment to welcome refugees here in Australia, and to protect and support refuges elsewhere. Last week the government also announced it is keeping the base humanitarian program capped at 13,750 — the same as the previous two years. To meet the needs of those fleeing Ukraine or Myanmar or Ethiopia this needs to rise!
Would you like to hear more good news?
On Sunday Canberra’s Relay for Life raised over $160,000 for cancer prevention and treatment, and for the support of cancer patients and their families. We are not at all competitive 😊, but we are also delighted that Donut Stop, Penny Jackson’s team, came second in the team rankings with $12,332 (to date) and Penny topped the participant rankings with $3,772! Well done, everyone! It was a shorter Relay for Life this years, and a smaller one, but it was wonderful to be holding an in-person event again – and incredibly moving to be part of it! Here at the church Cara Edgerton and the youth ran an excellent fundraiser that definitely put the ‘fun’ into fundraiser! (Thank you, Cara, for all your planning and your leadership!) We had a fastest doughnut eating competition (see the picture) and a relay – with doughnuts on chopsticks – around the church in which Ryan Edgerton crossed the finish line first, I came second and Kerstin Wallace, third.
The fact I came second points to the (very real!) benefits of being part of a relay team! And that is what we are as a church – a team that runs the race together, bears one other’s burdens, encourages each other and builds each other up, are cheerful givers together!
That sounds like good news to me!
Grace and peace,
P.S. One more piece of good news. Anthea Snowsill and Din Adikari and baby Henri were offered emergency accommodation by the ACT Government for their Covid isolation period. They have now all tested positive, so they are recovering together. Please keep them and other in the church recovering from Covid in your prayers!