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Cathedral launch helps inaugurate Refugee Week

"100,000 for Refugees" initiative invites people to support refugees and migrants.

June 20 2016St Paul’s Cathedral launched its "100,000 for Refugees" initiative, in which 100,000 people are invited to make a positive contribution to the welfare of refugees and other migrants who have settled in Melbourne by donating a minimum of $1, as Refugee Week began on Sunday 19 June.

The initiative has been developed by St Paul's Cathedral in collaboration with Diocesan Parish Partnerships, including Anglicare Victoria and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Donors are encouraged to become active in the work and ministry of Anglican agencies and parishes in Melbourne and Geelong, with their donations used to strengthen and support that work.

Money raised will be directed primarily into three existing programs run by Anglican agencies and St Paul’s: Anglicare’s provision of emergency housing for refugees, the Brotherhood’s “Skills Training for Refugees” program and the Cathedral’s English as a Second Language classes.

Other programs to be offered support will be those undertaken by parishes in the Melbourne diocese to assist refugees.

The event also saw the launch of a new parish pack, Let's Fully Welcome Refugees, which contains resources for supporting and advocating for refugees and asylum seekers. It is available on the Diocesan Parish Partnerships website.

Refugee Week, coordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia from 19-25 June, aims to honour the contributions of the 840,000 humanitarian entrants Australia has accepted since Federation in 1901. This year’s theme is “With courage let us all combine”.

More than 300 events are to be held throughout Australia, with the week in Melbourne having begun on 19 June across the road from St Paul’s, at Federation Square, with the inaugural Festival of Welcome.

Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, is offering Australians the opportunity to take up its “Ration Challenge”.

Participants have been invited to eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee (a small amount of rice, beans, lentils, fish, oil and flour) during Refugee Week and raise money to provide refugees with the food, medicine and support they need to survive.

The ration pack ingredient list is designed to reflect, as closely as possible, what a Syrian refugee living in a refugee camp in Jordan survives on in a typical week.

Prominent refugee advocates Archdeacon Rod Bower of Gosford in NSW, journalist and author Trevor Grant and Roman Catholic Sister Brigid Arthur, of the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, are to be speakers at the Refugees and Asylum Seekers Recognition Awards on 20 June at 6.30 at the Carrillo Gantner Theatre at the Sidney Myer Asia Centre, Melbourne University. The evening is to include cultural shows and displays, live performances and entertainment.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence is hosting a free screening of the documentary Freedom Stories on 21 June from midday. It will be held at the Brotherhood’s Father Tucker’s Room at its headquarters, 67 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

*Refugee Week events across Australia can be found at http://www.refugeeweek.org.au/events