Churches’Commission for
Migrants in Europe
3-5 May 2010
Adrian Cristea
The Parish-based Integration Project
Parish-based Integration
Supporting Integration of Immigrants into
Parishes/Local Congregations
Identifying Models of Good Practice
Networking with relevant bodies within the
Emerging issues
At local parish/congregation level
Inward migration
Increased diversity
Change in ethnic profile of congregations
Local parishes as focal points for support
Strong church links in countries of origin
Project Goals
Creation of web site (
– Resource Material
– Case Studies of Successful Integration Initiatives
– Parish Based Integration activities
– Contact Points and Networking
– Central Support Resource
– Dissemination of information within churches
Training Programmes/Assistance to Church Communities
The Project promotes
Cultural differences in our churches
More than acknowledgement and tolerance
Realisation that difference is a permanent feature
of reality
Understanding that difference should be valued in
its own right
Difference that has a sense of engagement and
Challenges for our Churches…
Churches as mediating structure in society
Challenge – Becoming welcoming churches
Changed tougher economic climate
Barriers to integration
– “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.
Racial Discrimination
"We are living in a society where racism is
officially sanctioned, approved and legislated
Reports of racial discrimination up 106% in
23% migrants experienced racism
“Black immigrants nine times more likely to
be unemployed”
66% Irish people suggest tighter controls on
Media “fuelling” racial attitudes
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
– “False claims help bill for asylum seekers to
hit €300m”
– “State saves €170,000 in deportation 'jetshare' “
How should our Churches
Advocacy on human rights-based migration
Becoming active partners in society
Act as Faith Communities and share common
beliefs with certain migrant communities
Promotion of migrant support programmes
Becoming resources for bridging between
different cultures
Specific Action Oriented Projects
Migrant Vote Campaign – Dublin City
Migrant led and facilitated by Local Authority
– Diverse ethnic and religious steering group
– Action oriented
– Build/improve voter education
– Increase participation to democratic process
– Support integration process at local level – Politics!
– Languages
– Reluctance to get involved with statutory agencies
Churches cannot afford to
be complacent…
Need for proactive policies in our Churches
Need for long-term strategic planning
Need for non-discriminating policies in
employment in our Churches
Develop and endorse a strategic framework
and anti-racist strategies
Set clear implementation and review
Establish or resource existing expert bodies
working in this area
Explore channels of communication with
new faith communities
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
“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.”

Irish Inter Church Committee 18th September 2008