Gazan Christians, fleeing the war in the Middle East, are safe in Sydney but life is far from smooth.

“It is emotional for them,” says Jude Simion, the director of Emerge, which helps families on arrival in Australia. “They face financial hardship as they try to forge a new life."

Hundreds of Palestinian Christians were caught in the crossfire of the war in Gaza. Since the attack by Hamas terrorists in Israel on October 7 last year and the resulting war, Christian and Muslim residents alike have had to flee their homes. 

They tell of bombings and sheltering in churches in the Gaza strip. Leaving their extended families, and in the midst of war, there is fear.

“ We saw a lot of people killed in the streets. We stayed in the sun and under [air] strike," one family said.

We saw a lot of people killed in the streets. We stayed in the sun and under [air] strike.

Emerge, which is a ministry of Sydney Anglican’s Evangelism & New Churches, assists new migrants in finding meaningful work and, with the help of parishes, helps them establish roots in Australia. 

“Meeting these new arrivals is a humbling experience,” Mr Simion says. “They are uncertain about how they will meet basic needs in a new country without Medicare or Centrelink support.” 

Emerge has taken on this new group, as it did with Syrian and Afghani refugees in recent years, but funding has been difficult to find. It has now begun a new appeal to help the families already here, and knows there are more to come. 

Says Mr Simion: “Of the more than 200 Gazan Christians with visas approved for resettlement in Australia, a large number have already arrived. We estimate 70 are yet to come but many are having difficulty in purchasing their travel tickets. We want to be ready to support them fully when they arrive.

“We really need practical things such as Christian businesses prepared to offer employment and mentorship and, of course, financial help.” 

“Embrace our siblings in Christ”

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has commended the work, saying, “Our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ have often found themselves between a rock and hard place in their own homeland. I’m very thankful for the work of Emerge in offering Christian love and care to those who have been forced to flee their homes, and have been offered sanctuary and a new start in Australia. 

“The magnitude of such a challenge should not escape us and I encourage Sydney Anglicans to generously and warmly embrace our siblings in Christ from that grief-stricken part of the world, where our Lord himself once walked.”

You can support Emerge online here.