Wednesday 21 October, 12.30 to 2 pm, City Road Baptist Church.
This is one of the 'Prayer and Planning' events being organised by Christian Action Bristol – the Christian part of Faith Action Bristol. We are planning to focus on refugees and asylum seekers this time.
Some draft meeting notes can be found here: Notes from Asylum Seekers and Refugees Meeting 21 October.
Many people have been horrified by the pictures and stories of people fleeing war and violence in their homelands, but the situation is both difficult and complex and there are very different views on what can and should be done. But we have a number of groups in Bristol already engaged with this challenge, so let's start with what is already being done, and work out how to move forward from there.
There will soon be a significant increase in the number of people arriving in Bristol, and the city is already struggling to cope with the people who have already come.
We have invited representatives from all the groups working with refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol to share what is happening – what they are doing, what they know about, and what the major challenges are right now.
We will be doing what we can to help coordinate the activity, communicate the need, and encourage people and organisations to work together as effectively as possible.
The churches are a massive potential resource, but that potential will only be realised if the people in the churches see a practical contribution they can make, and believe they can be part of achieving something worthwhile. This will require cooperation from both frontline projects and church leaders.
Please come to City Road Baptist Church at 12.30 pm on Wednesday 21 October – come along to help us find better ways of responding to this urgent need, or just come to be better informed.
Please also come along if you have ideas about other ways we could respond: we are in unknown territory, and will probably need to learn to do new things as part of our response. Also come if you have questions or concerns about what we are doing: we need to be aware of potential problems and consider how to avoid them.
We will be providing hot drinks and sandwiches, so please register to let us know if you plan to be with us. The event will be free, but if you are able to make a contribution towards the cost of organising these events, that would be very welcome.
We will plan the precise details of the event when we have a clearer idea of who is going to be present. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Paul.
We have invited representatives from all the groups we know about which are working with refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol. If you should have been invited, we apologise: please accept this as your invitation.
Just to be clear: we are not too interested in the faith basis (or lack of it!) of the organisations doing the work – we are more interested in the work being done and how to support it being done well. We don't mind what you believe or don't believe, but we hope you will not mind if we pray for you as one part of our response.
If you are working with refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol, please do two things: come along to the meeting (sign up so we know you are coming), and let us have some details beforehand so we can collate and circulate the details on the day. In particular, we would like to know:
We are looking for something like a short paragraph about each point, but this is just a suggested framework – if you already have something similar, do provide it: we don't want to make unnecessary work for you.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions, do let us know.
The following organisations have been invited to contribute – if you are aware of others who should be invited, please let me know!
Dr Knut Heim from Trinity College will be offering a short introduction to the situation from a Biblical perspective.