Welcoming new arrivals to the UK
Welcome Churches equips churches across the UK to welcome refugees and asylum seekers as they first arrive in the country. As COVID-19 dominates the news each day, this is starting to impact everyone’s plans and activities for the next few weeks and months. We know that churches are starting to question what their response should be to COVID-19, particularly when meeting people newly-arrived in the UK. As the Church, what should our response be?
Remember that refugees and asylum seekers may also be nervous about the spread of COVID-19. They are less likely to have a community around them to receive support and advice from, particularly if they are new to the UK. Restricted income may also mean that they can’t afford to stockpile hand sanitiser, even if they want to!
This gives our churches a wonderful opportunity to reach out and show compassion to new arrivals to the country. Imagine how you would feel if you arrived in the UK this month, hearing about COVID-19 and not knowing anyone. How can your church help refugees and asylum seekers feel less afraid and isolated? If your church runs Welcome Boxes, perhaps you could put some extra soap or a bottle of hand sanitiser in your Welcome Boxes to help calm any fears too?
Of course we all want to stay safe, for the sake of ourselves and our communities. Remember, you can still warmly welcome someone to your community without shaking their hand or giving them a hug! Welcome them with your smile, your kind words, and by helping find support and community. Wash your hands regularly and continue to follow the advice from the UK government.
The UK Home Office and organisations who meet refugees and asylum seekers upon their arrival in the UK are carrying out their own risk assessments to monitor the situation. Those who are seen to present a risk to the health of others are being screened upon arrival in the country to ensure they are not carriers of COVID-19.
As we know, God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). COVID-19 gives the Church a wonderful opportunity to show this love to newly-arrived refugees and asylum seekers, and to our wider communities as well. Let us know about all the creative ways your church decides to show love over the next few months, we would love to hear about them!
Last updated on 11th March, 2020