Creating Communities of Hospitality
In this newsletter, we share many examples of human connection at JRS: the community kitchen, where refugees showcase their skills in the kitchen, bringing together refugees and JRS staff and volunteers to talk and relax over a good meal, sharing food and fellowship; acupuncture, an opportunity for physical respite in a social setting; and the London Marathon, which we’re gearing up for once again, and which is an example of both the JRS community, and indeed communities right across London, coming together and striving to make positive change.
It is painfully clear that these examples of hospitality, community, and humanity at JRS stand in sharp contrast to so much of what surrounds us as we walk with refugees: policy, legislation, and public discourse around refugees and migrants over the last few years has been. This year has seen the passage of the Illegal Migration Act, virtually a ban on asylum. This itself follows the passage of the Nationality and Borders Act in 2022, designed to create barriers to asylum. A third successive government remains determined to forcibly transfer refugees to Rwanda. Immigration detention is indeed expanding, and we are beginning to see more prison-like asylum camps akin to Napier barracks rolled out, with some people seeking asylum now placed in the former MoD site in Wethersfield, Essex. And notably, in myriad ways, recent policy and legislation on refugees aims to divide us, and encourages us all to dehumanise refugees in line with way the law itself treats them – refugees are placed behind high walls, on the edges of community, and we are told not to see them.
We want to say thank you, because it would not be possible to continue to accompany, serve and advocate with and for refugees without your support, whatever form it comes in: whether that is prayers, donations, volunteering, or writing to your MP to challenge hostile policies.
You are part of the JRS community, and we could not continue to do our work without you.
"Volunteering has taught me patience despite the obstacles we face... working with others, my suffering becomes nothing."
Omer, refugee friend and volunteer
We are now open to applications for the London Marathon 2024. We’ll be with you every step of the way as you train for the marathon and reaching your £2,000 fundraising target, with the money you raise going straight to accompanying destitute refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
One of the greatest challenges faced by the refugees accompanied by JRS UK, is the lack of accommodation. The JRS At Home programme organises short term accommodation with individuals, parishes and religious communities for refugees who would otherwise be homeless.
JRS UK provides essential items such as toiletries, food and cloths to refugee friends at the JRS shop. Why not make a donation of some of these much needed items?