I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35
Jesus didn’t mince His words when He told His followers in Matthew 25 to look after those who are in need. He was pretty explicit, actually: If they are hungry or thirsty, they are to be given food and drink; if they are strangers, they are to be welcomed; if they are naked, they are to be clothed; if they are sick or in prison, they are to be visited. Simple.
The numbers of refugees entering the UK are increasing year on year. These ‘strangers in our midst’ have, for one reason or another, fled their homeland, leaving friends, family and familiar places behind. They are often deeply in need of the kind of help Jesus can give through His people. How can British Christians ‘welcome the stranger’ in Jesus’s name? We’ve compiled a list of organisations and websites that can help us get started:
Welcome Churches – No Refugee Alone
Welcome Churches offers ideas and help to churches who want to welcome refugees, including Afghans. Their vision is “for every refugee in the UK to be welcomed by their local church”. They provide numerous resources for churches, including instructions on how to make a ‘Welcome Box’ for a refugee family. The site also includes a section that directs refugees toward churches who are ready to help.
The Church of England’s Afghan Refugee Toolkit
A very comprehensive set of pages offering links and advice on:
- Key facts about Afghan refugees coming to the UK
- What the government is doing
- Christian Community Action agencies
- Managing volunteers
- Prayer and theological insights
Churches’ Refugee Network (CRN)
A ministry of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, their website offers a comprehensive range of articles, videos, events and resources on all aspects of welcoming and caring for refugees.
Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees (SFAR)
Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees is ‘a multi-faith partnership project hosted by the Church of Scotland which seeks to co-ordinate and promote action by faith communities in Scotland to support asylum seekers and refugees.’ They work with the Scottish Government and major charities such as Amnesty International, Oxfam and Christian Aid.
Stewardship, perhaps the UK’s biggest Christian giving agency, offers articles and links about various aspects of refugee work in the UK. For example:
6 Christian Charities Working with Refugees
An interview with Sue Butler of Welcome Churches
Fostering Refugee Children
Hamsayeh (meaning ‘neighbour’ in Farsi) works in partnership with the local church to reach Farsi-speakers both in the UK and beyond.
Edinburgh City Mission: Salaam
Edinburgh City Mission’s project, Salaam (‘Peace’), aims to ‘support refugees and asylum seekers from Syria and other parts of the world and to support the churches who are involved in welcoming them.’
Cover photo by Alex Kalligas on unsplash.com