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Welcoming the stranger ought to be part of each church neighborhood


It’s not every single day that I get emails telling me a few new mass migration motion to the UK that nobody knew about! Yet, that’s what occurred in autumn 2020. This electronic mail mentioned that underneath a scheme but to be introduced by the UK authorities, a whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals from Hong Kong have been going to be provided a brand new visa to return to the UK. I could not fairly imagine what I used to be studying.

We based Welcome Churches to assist church buildings welcome folks searching for asylum within the UK, a gaggle that usually has not traditionally been welcomed into the nation with open arms. So, to get an electronic mail which mentioned the UK authorities was about to open the gates to a whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals from one nation, certainly not?

It was certainly true. The UK authorities was about to announce that they recognised some accountability to the folks of Hong Kong, due to the UK’s historic hyperlinks there. Subsequently, in January 2021, the British Nationals Overseas (BNO) visa route was opened and other people from Hong Kong who had lived there earlier than 1997, and will fund themselves within the UK for a minimum of 6 months, have been welcome to use. It is estimated that so far over 100,000 folks have already utilized for the visa and relocated to the UK.

Wow! What a change that would carry to life within the UK – new cultures, understandings, views on life, which may educate us a lot. And what a possibility for the Church.

I passionately imagine that the biblical mandate to welcome the stranger ought to be on the centre of each church neighborhood. The UK has all the time been a various nation, and it’s now the norm throughout communities and never simply inside cities. Today, folks can transfer between continents in a day, so we have to get used to assembly folks from totally different cultures and backgrounds and have a tradition of welcome.

For folks residing within the UK in 2022, in some ways God is bringing the nations to us. What a possibility for us to see God’s intention for his Church, to be full of each tribe and tongue celebrating and worshipping him collectively.

Let’s be sincere although, for many people, a ‘welcome’ is an overenthusiastic smile to anybody who has chosen to stroll by means of our church doorways. The thought of making an attempt to welcome somebody who might not converse the identical language as me may be slightly daunting. But it is really a very easy factor that any of us can do. It might take some guts, however when these simply arrived from abroad obtain a welcome that exhibits you’ve got gone out of your means, it means a lot.

We imagine {that a} good welcome is intentional and proactive. You must need to welcome somebody to be part of your neighborhood. It will not occur by chance! Here are just a few tips about an ‘over and above welcome’:

Invite them alongside

One straightforward method to set up connection for somebody who has simply arrived in your area people is to ask them to affix in! What neighborhood actions may you invite your new pal alongside to? Who else may you introduce them to in order that they’ve a greater probability of creating actual friendships and discover a place to belong. Trying to incorporate new folks in your every day lives and to affix in with actions you’re already a part of, is the best means of together with a brand new individual in neighborhood life.

Be current

Let’s be sincere, welcoming somebody from a special nation and tradition is inevitably going to have some awkward moments, and you will most likely sit in silence a minimum of a few times! That’s okay, the primary factor is that you’re current, reasonably than to have a full dialog. You must be ready to be affected person, to take time to elucidate issues to your new neighbours that native people who find themselves conversant in British tradition would most likely already know.

Mutual hospitality

One of the perfect issues about welcoming new folks is once we make house for mutual hospitality. Many folks can even need to contribute to the neighborhood, in addition to obtain. They might want you to go to them of their residence, in addition to visiting you in yours. This is a vital means we guarantee folks’s dignity and respect. We need to study one another, discover out what now we have in widespread and perceive our variations. Some of our new associates can even share our Christian religion and be searching for a church neighborhood to affix in with. Others might not, and we all the time need to be certain we respect our new pal’s tradition and faith, which can be totally different to our personal. We will all the time look to construct on what now we have in widespread, notably if they’ve a religion totally different to ours.

Run a Welcome Course

This yr, UKHK, a mission of Welcome Churches, has launched the ‘Welcome Course’, particularly to assist church buildings and communities welcome new arrivals from Hong Kong. The Welcome Course discusses key facets of UK life together with: British Culture, making associates within the UK, wellbeing, drawback fixing and citizenship. It supplies straightforward methods to have discussions along with your new associates on these points, and house for them to ask questions they could have on UK life too. The course will be run face-to-face or on-line, with an easy-to-use bespoke on-line platform that will help you by means of the technical practicalities too, simply press go!

If each particular person actually welcomed and built-in folks into our native church buildings and communities, we may reveal on a nationwide degree a tradition of welcoming the stranger.

Visit UKHK.org for extra particulars and revel in assembly plenty of new associates who’re arriving in your neighborhood.

Emily Shepherd is Joint CEO of Welcome Churches. Having cofounded Welcome Churches with Karina Martin in 2018, Emily has a wealth of expertise in welcoming many asylum seekers and pioneered the ‘Welcome Boxes’ mission together with her native church. Emily is enthusiastic about seeing the UK Church being on the forefront of welcoming refugees. She has an MA in Conflict, Development and Security the place she specialised in European residents’ duties to refugees.



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