Wairarapa set to home refugees

By Emily Norman -
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WELCOME: Elton Gregory (left), Reverend Jenny Chalmers, Reverend Andy Eldred, Vicar of St Luke's Greytown, and Graham Edridge at St Luke's Church Greytown. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA
WELCOME: Elton Gregory (left), Reverend Jenny Chalmers, Reverend Andy Eldred, Vicar of St Luke's Greytown, and Graham Edridge at St Luke's Church Greytown. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA

If New Zealand steps up its refugee quota, Wairarapa has the welcome mat out.

Families of Anglican parishes in Wairarapa say they have homes to offer to refugees caught up in the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

A letter was sent to parishes in the Wellington region challenging each congregation to settle at least one refugee family. So far 40 congregations have agreed to take on a family.

Reverend Andy Eldred from St Luke's Church in Greytown said he had been watching the refugee issue "for a while now" and that the "challenge is before us to not just talk about the problems but instead do something about it".

"So I got a letter from Bishop Justin to read out," he said.

"And the response was really interesting. We've got a couple that live in Masterton but worship with us and they said, look, we've got a sleepout that's got a kitchen, a living room, we could easily host a small family.

"And we've got another family in Carterton who have just bought a place and they said, look, we can fix this up and accommodate some people too.

"And also I got an email from Jenny Chalmers this morning saying they could probably take up to 3 families at their parish."

Mr Eldred said St Luke's also had a parish house that could potentially be used to home a family rent-free with permission from the Wellington Diocese.

"Because the important thing is that we would like to help them form a bit of a community as well because it's really hard to adjust without feeling like you're completely on your own. So we just really want to do whatever we can to make a difference for these people because they are loved and that's the main thing."

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