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Past events at Ripon City of Sanctuary

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Thursday 19 November 2020 – It had been over year since we’d been able to host an event, due to the pandemic, but we were delighted to welcome back – by Zoom – Mary Brandon of Asylum Matters. She updated us on the status of various campaigns, including Lift the Ban; current government attitudes to asylum-seekers (little positive to report here); and on the Immigration Act. The event was co-hosted by Harrogate District of Sanctuary.

Friday 1 November 2019 – Renowned classical pianist Margaret Fingerhut was generous enough to offer a no-cost concert to any local City of Sanctuary group that would host her, so we jumped at the chance. Her concert, Far From the Home I Love, was all about the work of displaced and exiled composers in history, and also featured a specially commissioned and very beautiful piece by the Syrian composer Arian. It was a fabulous fundraising evening and we are hugely grateful to her. 

Thursday 17 October 2019 – We hosted a public event featuring a live video call to a Syrian refugee in Amman, Jordan. This was a young widow and now single mum who fled to Jordan from southern Syria when her husband was murdered. She told us about her 8-year journey from tragedy to hope, and then took questions at the end. 

Saturday 12 October 2019 – Once again, as part of Ripon Poetry Festival, we co-hosted a session focusing on asylum issues. This year featured Jack Mapanje, a Malawian poet in exile now living in York. 

As part of Refugee Week, 17-23 June 2019 (see poster)

  • Monday 23 June – We showed the Australian refigee comedy ‘The Merger’. 
  • Tuesday 18 June – We held a vigil in Ripon Cathedral, remembering those who have had to flee and those who died trying. 
  • Thursday 20 June – We had a market stall in Ripon market and invited conversations with the public.
  • Thursday 20 June – We hosted a talk with Iraqi refugee poet and academic Dr Ahmed F Khaleel (with Ripon Poetry festival)
  • All week – We put up a City of Sanctuary display at Ripon Library

Monday 13 May 2019 – At our 2019 AGM, we reported on our work over the past year and showed 2 short films. The call to action was to sign a letter to our MP about ending unlimited detention for refugees/asylum-seekers, and the collection was towards the cost of buying refugee-related books for our schools of sanctuary. All the documents and links from our AGM are here.

Saturday 14 April 2019 – We bussed a coach of 50 refugees and asylum-seekers over to Ripon for lunch and a day out with us and Ripon’s Syrian families. 9 nationalities were represented, from Egyptian to Kurdish to Cameroonian to Rohingya. We had a wonderful day, accompanied throughout by the current mayor and mayor-elect of Ripon, with visits to the cathedral, Spa Gardens and Workhouse Museum.

Thursday 14 March 2019 – We welcomed acclaimed author Gulwali Passarlay, the author of The Lightless Sky – My Journey to Safety as a Child Refugee. He told the fascinating story of his arduous childhood escape from Afghanistan to a new life in Britain. He is now a TEDx speaker, activist and consultant. He made lots of time for us signed books for all who wanted one.

Thursday 24 January 2019 – We very much enjoyed guest speaker Mary Brandon, campaign projects manager for Yorkshire & Humberside at Asylum Matters.

Saturday 3 November 2018 – We took a Syrian family to participate in York City of Sanctuary’s ‘Welcome to York’ programme (a day of hospitality and exploring the city).

Tuesday 30 October 2018 – We gave a presentation to Ripon Cathedral Mothers’ Union, covering our support for the Syrian families as well as our wider work.

Saturday 13 October 2018 – As part of Ripon Poetry Festival, Palestinian poet Mustafa Abu Sneineh and British writer Naomi Foyle came up from London and Brighton, respectively, to read and discuss their poetry at the Old Deanery. This was arranged in collaboration with Ripon City of Sanctuary.

Thursday 11 October 2018 – We held a Ripon City of Sanctuary awareness stall at Ripon Market from 9am to 3:30pm, where we also focused on the Lift the Ban campaign.

Wednesday 1 August 2018 – City of Sanctuary prayer station at Ripon Cathedral charities day.

As part of Refugee Week, 18-24 June 2018 (see poster)

  • Saturday 16 June – We joined Ripon Cathedral for a walk and thoughtful contemplation of sanctuary in the context of Ripon. 
  • Monday 18 June – We held a free film night with 2 movies: a short entitled Only my Voice (2017, 12 mins) about 4 women from the Middle East as they transit through Athens, and a feature-length film entitled Syrian Stories (100 mins, 2017) revealing the diverse experiences of Syrian people displaced by war and living in neighbouring coutries. 
  • Wednesday 20 June – We hosted a celebration of Schools of Sanctuary at Ripon Cathedral.
  • Wednesday 20 June – We gave a public talk about the work of Ripon City of Sanctuary at Grewelthorpe Village Hall.
  • All week – We put up a City of Sanctuary display at Ripon Library

Sunday 3 June 2018 – We participated in the volunteer service at Ripon Cathedral.

Monday 23 April 2018 – We held the first Ripon City of Sanctuary AGM: a review of our work since we set up in September 2015, committee appointments/resignations, plus interviews with 2 Syrian men resettled in Ripon.

Saturday 24 March 2018 – We took the Syrian families to 2 farms in Nidderdale, with lunch kindly provided by Pateley Bridge Methodist Church

Monday 26 February 2018 – We hosted a public talk by Jonathan Spencer, project manager for SVPR at North Yorkshire County Council, and one of the Syrian men who has been resettled to Ripon, who told his story.

Saturday 17 February 2018 – Ripon City of Sanctuary took our Syrian families to Wakefield District of Sanctuary, where we met with Wakefield’s Syrian families for lunch and a day of socialising and music.

Tuesday 2 January 2018 – We hosted a party for Ripon’s Syrian families at Allhallowgate Methodist Church Ripon.