All Are Welcome at the Table of God

17 April 2015

A photo by Jürgen
Here is a reflection by Jyoti, who volunteers at the JRS Day Centre since 2 years
The vision of the JRS Day Centre for me comes from the Bible: the table of God where all are welcome, regardless of caste or creed. This is the place where all are given their place, their respect. This is the atmosphere we have here and this is the welcoming attitude we have for our guests.
I like of course talking to each person! First of all opening the door… Open the door, give a smile and a welcoming gesture. It is for me an openness to receive each one, the receptiveness, and then you see the smile on the other’s side. One of them who came recently was a new one, it was her first time. The day she came she was really down, the second time she came here her face was so peaceful and calm. I asked her and she said it was because I met the cheerful people, the good people here.
That is the difference we make. Those who come with their burdens, feelings of what is happening to them… so even one smile makes a big difference. What I see differently, what I have learnt myself as a volunteer, well as you can see, a smile is my main motto here! Sincerely, despite all the difficulties, if they can smile, what if I can not give a smile. I see that from the other side, so it brings such a difference.
Then, I was on the desk for the travel money. Money is a big thing in their life, they don’t have money, and although we are giving little, it is very supportive to them as other organisations do not give it, they have no access to money. So JRS is doing a very purposeful work which can help them to go to the place they want, the necessary solicitor or reporting at the Home Office. And all the various activities of course, they are ways of freeing them from the tension. Like the massage, the touch makes the person feel healed and loved, all the activities for our guests are very down to earth, and so very helpful for them.
For me dignity is one JRS value that is important to me. People come to the UK looking for dignity a good life, but they end up with nobody respecting them. But this is one of the place that we have that good practice or a very good deep model of dignity. Overall I feel this is a place of hospitality where one feels at home and each volunteer and staff member are so open to cater to our guests in a way they feel welcomed. And of course our compassion to them in their suffering. We give that to each person, respecting them as they are as a person, regarding their person as the image of God.

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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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