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Churches’Commission for Migrants in Europe MIRACLE Project 3-5 May 2010 Brussels Adrian Cristea.

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Presentation on theme: "Churches’Commission for Migrants in Europe MIRACLE Project 3-5 May 2010 Brussels Adrian Cristea."— Presentation transcript:

1 Churches’Commission for Migrants in Europe MIRACLE Project 3-5 May 2010 Brussels Adrian Cristea

2 Introducing The Parish-based Integration Project

3 Parish-based Integration Project Supporting Integration of Immigrants into Parishes/Local Congregations Supporting Integration of Immigrants into Parishes/Local Congregations Identifying Models of Good Practice Identifying Models of Good Practice Networking with relevant bodies within the churches Networking with relevant bodies within the churches

4 Emerging issues At local parish/congregation level At local parish/congregation level Inward migration Inward migration Increased diversity Increased diversity Change in ethnic profile of congregations Change in ethnic profile of congregations Local parishes as focal points for support Local parishes as focal points for support Strong church links in countries of origin Strong church links in countries of origin

5 Project Goals Creation of web site (www.iccsi.ie) Creation of web site (www.iccsi.ie) – Resource Material – Case Studies of Successful Integration Initiatives – Parish Based Integration activities – Contact Points and Networking Services Services – Central Support Resource – Dissemination of information within churches Training Programmes/Assistance to Church Communities Training Programmes/Assistance to Church Communities

6 The Project promotes RESPECT Cultural differences in our churches Cultural differences in our churches More than acknowledgement and tolerance More than acknowledgement and tolerance Realisation that difference is a permanent feature of reality Realisation that difference is a permanent feature of reality Understanding that difference should be valued in its own right Understanding that difference should be valued in its own right Difference that has a sense of engagement and interaction Difference that has a sense of engagement and interaction

7 Challenges for our Churches… Churches as mediating structure in society Churches as mediating structure in society Challenge – Becoming welcoming churches Challenge – Becoming welcoming churches Changed tougher economic climate Changed tougher economic climate

8 Barriers to integration Racism Racism –“Any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.” Where racism and xenophobia are active ingredients in the life of a country these will also exist within churches. Where racism and xenophobia are active ingredients in the life of a country these will also exist within churches.

9 Racial Discrimination "We are living in a society where racism is officially sanctioned, approved and legislated for." "We are living in a society where racism is officially sanctioned, approved and legislated for." Reports of racial discrimination up 106% in 2007 Reports of racial discrimination up 106% in % migrants experienced racism 23% migrants experienced racism “Black immigrants nine times more likely to be unemployed” “Black immigrants nine times more likely to be unemployed” 66% Irish people suggest tighter controls on immigration 66% Irish people suggest tighter controls on immigration

10 Media “fuelling” racial attitudes Sensational reporting such as: Sensational reporting such as: –“Many bogus asylum applicants are arriving here armed with an information pack on how to beat the system” –“An overview of the asylum seeker situation estimated that 90 per cent of claims are bogus” –“False claims help bill for asylum seekers to hit €300m” –“State saves €170,000 in deportation 'jet- share' “

11 How should our Churches respond? Advocacy on human rights-based migration policy Advocacy on human rights-based migration policy Becoming active partners in society Becoming active partners in society Act as Faith Communities and share common beliefs with certain migrant communities Act as Faith Communities and share common beliefs with certain migrant communities Promotion of migrant support programmes Promotion of migrant support programmes Becoming resources for bridging between different cultures Becoming resources for bridging between different cultures

12 Specific Action Oriented Projects Migrant Vote Campaign – Dublin City Migrant led and facilitated by Local Authority Migrant led and facilitated by Local Authority –Diverse ethnic and religious steering group –Action oriented Goals Goals –Build/improve voter education –Increase participation to democratic process –Support integration process at local level – Politics! Challenges Challenges –Languages –Reluctance to get involved with statutory agencies

13 Churches cannot afford to be complacent… Need for proactive policies in our Churches Need for proactive policies in our Churches Need for long-term strategic planning Need for long-term strategic planning Need for non-discriminating policies in employment in our Churches Need for non-discriminating policies in employment in our Churches

14 Recommendations Develop and endorse a strategic framework and anti-racist strategies Develop and endorse a strategic framework and anti-racist strategies Set clear implementation and review deadlines Set clear implementation and review deadlines Establish or resource existing expert bodies working in this area Establish or resource existing expert bodies working in this area Explore channels of communication with new faith communities Explore channels of communication with new faith communities

15 To Remember It is not enough to confess that we believe in the Universal Church, it is necessary for us to live what we confess It is not enough to confess that we believe in the Universal Church, it is necessary for us to live what we confess “The mission of God is not fully served in a local community, unless the local church begins to reflect something of the richness and diversity of the people of that area.” “The mission of God is not fully served in a local community, unless the local church begins to reflect something of the richness and diversity of the people of that area.”


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