Churches talk about refugees

Reverend Sandy Horsburgh

Reverend Sandy Horsburgh

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The Reverend Sandy Horsburgh of St Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church in Dalkeith recently returned from a trip to Switzerland.

The minister was there to attend the meeting of the Europe area of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, for which he is secretary.

He said: “We have an annual meeting and it gathers around 40 people from reformed churches in Europe.

“This year we had two main things to focus on. The meeting was in part to prepare for the general council that will be held in Leipzig in 2017.

“The other thing was discussing what we can do for refugees at the moment. Some of our churches in Greece and Germany are doing a lot of work with refugees just now.

“The Greek Evangelical Church is providing a thousand meals a day. They only have 4,000 members. It’s a very small church and they do a huge amount of work.

“There is a church in Italy doing the same thing. We have lots of churches doing what they can to help refugees when they arrive in their countries. We were also considering what more we can do. There were some thoughts raised. But it’s quite difficult to know what we can do here.”

The Reverend also had a chance to see the work of the host church in Zurich.

He said: “We met with some of their church leaders and we saw some of the work they do in Zurich.

“We visited a centre which is helping refugees. There is a fairly substantial immigrant population in Zurich.

“It’s not crisis management by any means, but it’s a lot of hard work.

“It was good working in different churches, learning what they are doing. I went to Vitikoon, a little village just outside Zurich, where I preached.

“My wife Alison McDonald was with me too, representing the Church of Scotland at the meeting. They made us very welcome. It was a very good trip and we have made good contacts there.”