On Monday, I attended a training session offered by Hounslow Council to people wishing to contribute to the Refugees Welcome project that Tom initiated, along with other local organisations and groups. The training emphasised that volunteers can help in a number of ways e.g. befriending, helping to learn English, or providing a welcome meal.
It can be daunting to open our hearts and homes to people who we don’t know, especially when there are cultural differences and a language barrier, and it’s really important to know that support and advice are available. Over twenty-five people attended the session. Mohammed Bashar and Nina Yusof, who led the training, did a great job of providing background information about the Syrian people and their land and customs, and helping us to think about what issues the refugees might be facing once they arrive.
It made me think about how much is possible when groups, organisations and individuals work together for a common cause. In today’s world it seems more important than ever to reach out beyond ourselves to create community wherever we can. The bible gives us a number of pictures to encourage us to work closely together for the kingdom of God e.g. like living stones in a temple (1 Peter 2 v5), or like different parts of the body (1 Cor. 12 v27).
The Shelter Project Hounslow, which we participate in here at St John’s and St Mary’s, is a really good example of this kind of working together. Maybe, over time, The Refugees Welcome Hounslow could be something else that we get involved with as a church? If you would like to find our more do speak to me or Rachel Maclure, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.