The need

Who is arriving in the UK and what is the opportunity for the Church?

Refugees in the UK

41,000 refugees came to the UK in 2019* (UK Home Office, 2020).
If every church in the UK welcomed one person seeking refuge, then no refugee would be alone.

Refugees leave their homes, families, jobs, communities… their whole lives behind. Many have experienced severe trauma, loss and distress.

“The war came suddenly in Syria. One day when I was working and came back home, the streets were closed and there were guns around us. I left Syria to Lebanon, then Turkey. In Turkey I managed to flee to Greece but the first time our boat sank in the water. We were around 300 people in the water, 30 of them died.”

Milad - Syrian Refugee

Arriving in a new country can add to the trauma and stress refugees experience. When asylum seekers and refugees first arrive in the UK they often feel isolated. They can be unsure how to access services or find a place to belong.

“Before I found the church, I was really struggling. All my family was gone. I felt so lonely and lost. I remember the first time I visited my church; I felt so welcome and I found a new life. I was really encouraged, especially when people prayed for me. I had lost my whole family, but with my church I have found a new home and a new family.”

Abbas - Kurdish Refugee

The opportunity for your church

Your church is a ready-made community where refugees can find family. Churches are often at the heart of local communities; they can introduce refugees to local people, help them to learn English and to develop their skills. Churches can enable refugees to contribute to the local community and integrate more effectively.

“Working with Welcome Churches is helping to turn our church inside out, helping us to reach out to people from all walks of life. We want to see more and more asylum seekers and refugees becoming part of the church, finding community, family and belonging. We want to keep growing into a church where people don’t think or feel that they have to be a certain type before they can imagine fitting in, because it’s so evident just by looking around that all are welcome.”

NickyWelcome Boxes Coordinator, City Church Sheffield

Welcome Churches' vision is for every refugee to be welcomed by the local church

Welcoming refugees will encourage your church. As you meet people from different cultures and backgrounds, you will be challenged, inspired and your eyes will be opened to the Church beyond your doorstep. It's an exciting journey; we would love to go on that journey with you!


Find out more