“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself” Leviticus 19: 34
In a Church Members’ meeting earlier this year, we affirmed that we would do what we can to live up to the title of Church of Sanctuary”.
We are a church situated in a place where people from all over the world come to live and many of these people are seeking sanctuary, seeking safety because of war or persecution.
Because, as Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand said after the Christchurch massacre, “They are us”. Many of our church members are people who have sought safety here in the UK, or whose family have.
Because the God tells us again and again through Jesus and through the scriptures, that we must welcome the stranger.
What does it mean?
Being a Church of Sanctuary means that we do what we do already. We welcome, we include, we love. We see the humanity in all who come to us. We challenge hostility and hatred. We make space for new people. We are doing this already.
Already we have a Place of Welcome, ESOL classes, a foodbank.
Becoming a Church of Sanctuary means that we become a little bit more intentional about this and make sure that these core Christian values go right across the board.
We will be identifying a couple of people to oversee “Sanctuary” in our church.
On the 13 th October we aim to be formally recognised as a Church of Sanctuary and have Richard Reddie from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland coming to preach.