Shortly after Easter, staff and volunteers of JRS UK spent three days taking a deeper look at the shared mission of JRS to accompany. Led by Jonathan Parr, Assistant Country Director of JRS UK, and Danielle Vella, Head of Mission at JRS International, the team was guided through a number of group discussions and activities addressing the challenges and joys of accompanying the refugees we serve and each other. The training offered the opportunity to spend some time reconnecting with the key values of JRS and how these guide our work in accompanying destitute asylum seekers in London and those held in detention centres at Heathrow.
The training started by revisiting the letter that Pedro Arrupe SJ, founder of JRS, wrote to his Jesuit brothers after being struck by the plight of the Vietnamese boat people. His word’s “to go anywhere we are most needed for the greater service of God” set the tone for the three days as the group covered the pitfalls and difficulties of accompaniment and how we avoid only hearing only the ‘single story’ of a person.
Our communications Assistant, William Neal, said “By taking each of the values and mission of JRS we were able to touch on the essential nature of accompaniment. It was a great opportunity to share experiences with volunteers from both our destitution and detention services. There was a real feel of the entire JRS UK family coming together as we communally strive to improve how we serve and accompany.”
Sr. Marguirette, one of our volunteers at the Day Centre, said “For me personally it had been a very fruitful time, though hard work too. The time with all the other participants sharing, discussing, working together, eating together was much appreciated, to get to know each other better”.