Refugee Week 2024

17th June 2024

For Refugee Week 2024 cathedrals are hosting thought-provoking art installations, special services in partnership with local groups and organisations, and Norwich Cathedral has just been awarded Cathedral of Sanctuary status.

What is Home – rethinking the meaning of sanctuary and refuge: Refugee Week in our Cathedrals

This year’s Refugee Week theme is Our Home and all our cathedrals will be marking the week which runs from 17 to 23 June.

Norwich Cathedral has just announced it has been recognised as a Cathedral of Sanctuary for its work in helping those starting new lives in Norwich.

The cathedral joins Chester Cathedral as one of a handful of cathedrals to have been awarded this status in recognition of its ongoing commitment to the City of Sanctuary vision of being a welcoming place of safety for all.

To mark Refugee Week, Norwich Cathedral will host a special exhibition called City of Strangers…City of Stories sharing stories of people seeking new beginnings in Norwich.

Marie-Lyse Numuhoza, a Lay Canon of Norwich Cathedral is originally from Rwanda and has dedicated her life to promoting peace-building and human rights after she experienced the horrors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

She said:

“I am delighted Norwich Cathedral has been recognised as a Cathedral of Sanctuary with the City of Sanctuary award. It has joined a growing network of churches, groups and organisations that continue to advocate and promote the culture of welcome for those seeking sanctuary in our communities.”

The cathedral was recognised for its partnership work with English+, a Christian charity which meets in the Cathedral’s Weston Room every Wednesday offering English lessons and other means of support to refugees, asylum seekers and others who are starting new lives in Norwich. English+ has been running lessons at the Cathedral since 2022 and for Refugee Week some of the people who have taken part in these lessons will be sharing their personal stories in the exhibition run in partnership with English+.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Dr Andrew Braddock, said:

“Norwich has a long history of welcoming the stranger. Norwich Cathedral, working in partnership with English+, is delighted to be recognised as a Cathedral of Sanctuary as part of the wider City of Sanctuary movement.  The Cathedral’s exhibition for Refugee Week celebrates the rich contribution of those from around the world who have made this city their home.”

The exhibition is free and will be on display in the Cathedral until June 30.

In addition to the Cathedral’s work with English+, Norwich Cathedral was also recognised  in several other areas including its support for refugee families via the Hope into Action project, its links with the Norwich-based homelessness charity St Martins, its interfaith programme for school visits, and the cathedral’s overarching ethos that welcome is at the heart of everything it does.

Refugee Week Norwich’s 2024 celebration Our City: Our Home runs from Monday 10 to Sunday 30 June. More here

Carlisle Cathedral will host a prayer vigil in its grounds on Thursday 20 June – World Refugee Day – and is inviting anyone to come and join them in praying for asylum seekers and refugees. Those unable to attend can send prayers or poems to

Canterbury Cathedral has partnered withThe Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), the Social Justice Network of the Diocese of Canterbury to offer an interactive exhibition called Home. The exhibition which runs from Monday to Friday 21 June asks visitors to explore what home means to them and to think about those who have had to leave their own homes as a result of war, violence, oppression or climate change.

A spokesperson for the cathedral said:

“During Refugee Week, as we focus on the plight of refugees, we invite you to experience how they have come to create a new home here in Canterbury, and the cultural richness that they have brought with them.”

Chester Cathedral is partnering with the Chester City of Sanctuary Group to run a week-long At Home in our City event to celebrate Refugee Week 2024.

There will be a gazebo in the grounds with ideas of home and welcome through poetry and paintings and visitors are invited to add their own hopes and dreams with fabric diamonds to turn the gazebo orange. There are other events and activities across the city throughout the week that celebrate and explore the idea of home and welcome.

Chester Cathedral What is Home -rethinking the meaning of sanctuary and refuge: Refugee Week in our cathedrals.

Portsmouth Cathedral will host a launch night for Refugee Week in collaboration with Portsmouth City of Sanctuary this Monday.

Our Home will be an evening of celebration and solidarity with music, art and speakers and marks the beginning of a week dedicated to raising awareness about the experiences of refugees.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Portsmouth City of Sanctuary – a charity providing support for local refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants.

Since its inception in 1998, Refugee Week has brought millions of people together through a vibrant programme of arts, cultures, sports, and educational events. These initiatives, alongside media and creative campaigns, aim to connect people from different backgrounds beyond labels, as well as encourage understanding of why people are displaced, and the challenges they face when seeking safety.  This annual festival aligns with World Refugee Day, celebrated globally on June 20th