One of the biggest pleasures in my role as Community Outreach Officer at JRS UK has been the wide variety of parish and church communities I have visited. I have been able to share with others the experiences of our refugee friends and our mission to journey alongside them; accompany them, serve them, and advocate on their behalf.
I have been able to visit large parishes in bustling city centres and smaller parishes in the suburbs and beyond. I have seen many different styles of liturgy as well as diverse faith communities – comprised of people from different nations with varying traditions. In many ways, it has been a great witness to how catholic the Church really is.
However, in each parish I have visited there has always been a very similar response. It is the response of parishioners who are inspired, upon hearing our friends’ experiences, to put the faith that brings them to church into practical action; to help their brothers and sisters in need.
The outreach work that we do at JRS is designed to make people aware of the realities facing those who are held indefinitely in immigration detention and those who are made destitute by the asylum system. This reality is often bleak, but we also hope to highlight how parishes and the people who make them are able to make a real difference to the lives of our friends through a wide range of activities; be it volunteering, fundraising or praying.
With this in mind, JRS will be releasing a new Parish Pack resource this autumn. This pack will be filled with information about our work and how parish communities can get involved. We hope this pack will give you, as well as priests, pastoral workers, parishioners and catechists ideas of how you can help those subjected to hostility on a daily basis here in the UK.
We are only able to accompany, serve and advocate for our refugee friends because of supportive parishes and the people who make up these communities. I have seen the positive impact helping those less fortunate can have in energising parishes by putting faith into action. JRS UK would love the opportunity to partner with you and your parish.
GET INVOLVED: If you are interested in receiving a Parish Pack or in having someone from JRS come to visit your parish, school or community group, please contact Nick: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7488 7310.
Event: Come and See Me!
Are you new to JRS UK? Have you seen us mentioned online or heard about us in your parish? Are you already a supporter of our work? Or have you always wanted to volunteer to support refugees, but not sure where to start? No matter who you are, for one special day our doors are open to everyone interested in our work and how we accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and those seeking asylum.