Looking at the news, it can feel that the refugee crisis is becoming an overwhelming problem. When we read these often harrowing stories alongside our Bibles it can be difficult to know how to respond. On the one hand, the Bible tells us to “welcome the foreigner living among you” (Deuteronomy 10, Matthew 25). However on the other hand it’s hard to know where to begin. Welcome Boxes practically equip local churches to meet those fleeing persecution and violence and living in their communities. Through the provision of a simple gift, the boxes open the door for you to get to know some of the people seeking protection in the UK and to let them know that they are welcome here. It’s what Jesus tells us to do!
Welcome boxes are filled with all sorts of different gifts: toiletries, toys, cleaning products, things to decorate the home. It doesn’t really matter what goes in the box, it’s the welcome and friendship that come with it that mean the most!
One refugee neighbour told us: “The Welcome Box has made me so happy because it has shown me that people care – before receiving one, I didn’t know that. It has been so important to me to have someone listen to my problems and offer to help.”
The provision of the Welcome Box is just the start of welcoming new Neighbours into the community. The Church is then in a great position to invite neighbours to community events, to identify any additional support that they need and to help them to live full lives in the UK. We have seen the boxes help to completely change the make-up of local churches, becoming more multi-cultural and reflecting God’s kingdom here on earth. It can also give you a powerful voice for change and for justice within your community. You will meet other organisations who are working with refugees, many of whom will come to depend on the service that the boxes provide.
We believe that newly-arrived refugees and asylum seekers deserve the very best quality of support that is on offer. That’s why we provide full training for all our Welcome Boxes projects, giving the Church the best opportunity to welcome and care for their newly-arrived neighbours; breaking down cross-cultural barriers and identifying the specific areas of help that they need. We then work closely with the Church to ensure that the project gets off to a good start and that you are supported every step of the way.
We would love for your church to partner with us. Our vision is to inspire and equip the Church to practically demonstrate God’s love for refugees and asylum seekers through the building of welcoming communities. Whether you have high-numbers of refugees arriving in your area, or only a few, Welcome Boxes can help your church connect with your new neighbours as they first arrive. Together, we have the potential to build community, reduce isolation and to change the conversation about welcoming refugees in the UK. Play your part by partnering with us today!
Written by Emily Holden
Photo credit: David Everett-Strickler