Open Doors is delighted to be partnering with Christians on the Left at the Labour Party Conference this year. We’ll be sharing our new seven-year global campaign, Hope for the Middle East, which serves to equip people to support, pray and advocate for Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq.
Our work in Syria began in 2003, when tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees started to arrive there after the outbreak of the Iraq war. Through local partners, Open Doors supported churches to reach out to refugees, and provided Bibles, Christian literature and training. Building those networks meant relief aid was able to reach people quickly when civil war broke out.
Through local churches and partnership agencies, Open Doors now supports 12,000 families in Syria – around 60,000 people – with vital aid such as food and medicines, and is also investing in long-term projects such as loans for small businesses, trauma care, and safe spaces for children. Open Doors supporters in the UK and Ireland made this work possible by giving generously, praying fervently, and speaking out boldly through the 2013 Save Syria petition, which led the UN to recognise the suffering faced by Christians in Syria.
Open Doors’ new campaign, Hope for the Middle East, aims to continue this work, and do even more, beginning with One Million Voices of Hope, a global petition based on consultations with Syrian and Iraqi Christians, including church leaders. When asked what would give them hope, they highlighted three things: the right to equal citizenship, dignified living conditions, and a constructive role in reconciling and rebuilding society.
The three-fold call for equality, dignity and responsibility forms the backbone of a new Hope for the Middle East report and is echoed in the petition which mobilises people from around the world, including those who face persecution, to unite with Christians in the Middle East to raise these calls. At such a crucial time for both Syria and Iraq, it is vital that as many people of influence as possible hear the message of this report, and are mobilised to use their influence to bring about change on the ground. The parliamentary launch of Hope for the Middle East on 12 October will further communicate this message through in-depth reports, first-hand accounts, and tailored recommendations. Please invite your MP!
It’s so important that the message of persecuted Christians reaches those of all political persuasions, which is why we work with Christians in Politics, and are happy to partner with Christians on the Left and the Conservative Christian Fellowship at party conferences. We have worked with Christians on the Left for many years, and are excited to partner with them to engage with the Labour party - and whoever is voted in as Labour leader – at a time of immense political change in the UK. We look forward to bringing the voice of Syrian and Iraqi Christians to the Labour Party Conference!
Open Doors is an international ministry serving persecuted Christians and churches worldwide. In over 50 countries, Open Doors supplies Bibles, trains church leaders, delivers Bible-based literacy programmes and supports Christians who suffer for their faith. In the UK and Ireland, Open Doors works to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and advocacy among Christians.
Zoe Smith is Head of Advocacy at Open Doors UK and will be speaking at the Labour Party Conference Service on Sunday 25th September in Liverpool.