"Let Australia's Faith Communities help settle and care for those asylum seekers still on Nauru and Manus Island".
That is the request to the Government from the Board of the National Council of Churches in Australia, meeting today in Sydney.
"Hospitality and compassion are shared core values of the major world religions, notwithstanding our many mistakes and failures", said the President of the NCCA, Bishop Philip Huggins and General Secretary, Sister Elizabeth Delaney today.
"We are writing to the Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration and Border Protection, asking that they meet us so we can clarify how together we can co- operate to settle and care for these people".
"The continuing reports out of both places are a source of deep concern. Plainly, it has not been possible to find a third country able to resettle them. The worsening situation in Syria has made this impossible. "
Sister Delaney and Bishop Huggins hope to bring to a meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister other faith leaders as well as leaders from Church overseas aid and domestic welfare agencies.
"We have considerable expertise and good will which we can bring to this task.
We understand and share the Government’s concern about people-traffickers. "However the need to resettle in Australia those refugees on Nauru and Manus outweighs and must now be separated from other considerations.
"We hope and pray our Government will partner with us to resettle these people and thus promote both their healing and ours".