Be hospitable and welcoming
Hospitality is a biblical assignment. Jesus says: love your neighbor like yourself. It’s beautiful if you welcome refugees in your church. There can be worked on more openness and hospitality in various ways. Hospitality starts with an attitude of the church as a whole. This starts with awareness.
Refugees find it difficult to make a connection themselves. This is due to language problems and differences in culture and faith experience. But they do have a strong need for a social network, because they often had to leave their family and friends behind. For many refugees, a large part of their identity is lost without social contacts. The church can be a beautiful place where someone can be themselves and build valuable relationships.
Invite refugees in joining a Bible study group or make a small group with different refugees. Involve them also in the ecclesiastical organization after a longer period of time. In that way, they really get a place and identity.
"I am so happy with my church, it is my family"
Hospitality & Church Service
In the Sunday service you can do a number of things to make a refugee feel at home. Below are some free suggestions that can help to promote hospitality:
- Do you see a new person in the service? Welcome him or her.
- Make clear how the service will go: hand out a (standard) liturgy/program.
- Provide translation of the church service and use understandable language in the service.
- The ultimate form of hospitality is eating together. Consider how you can apply this around the service. Or try to invite refugees for a meal at home.
- Let the speaker in the service pay attention to the refugees by giving them a hand or something like that. This is very important in non-Western cultures. That’s how refugees feel welcome.
- Don’t ask about their origin and the flight reason.
Value of personal contacts
Hospitality mainly takes place in personal contacts. Being seen is of great importance and will give an asylum seeker the feeling of belonging. Someone who speaks to them or takes him along for a moment, it’s valuable. After all, refugees sometimes have few contacts. It also means a lot to a refugee if you greet him in his own language.
Individually or in small groups, you can discuss a service with them or ask how they are. This way you will also learn about their needs. Many refugees have problems. For them it is nice to talk to you about this. You can’t always solve it. To be able keep it up, it is important to define your boundaries and communicate this clearly. This prevents frustration and will give you more space to stay hospitable.
Bibles & Literature
Gave Veste can provide Bibles, a multilingual song bundle and other literature in various languages. It is highly recommended that refugees read the Bible in their own language. The multilingual song bundle enables refugees to sing songs in their own language. This can be very valuable in worship, in small group evenings or during church weekends. All this can be requested via the contact form.