This is one of the 'Prayer and Planning' events being organised by Christian Action Bristol – the Christian part of Faith Action Bristol.
The plan is that concerned people get together to share what they know, to pray about the issue, and to consider what they (and the churches and organisations they belong to) can do about it. We also make time for a general sharing of news, concerns and prayer requests.
Following on from the meetings about refugees and asylum seekers and about housing and homelessness, we will focus this time on how more people can get involved in helping the refugees and asylum seekers.
More specifically, we want to identify the options and opportunities for helping (especially, but not only, through volunteering); explain what they involve; and plan ways to communicate them to the people who might be interested.
We have asked the organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers to let us have a list of the ways in which new people could help them.
We will aim to circulate all the details provided, through the web site and to those who have registered, on Wednesday 2 March.
We have a reasonably good idea of the problems faced by refugees and asylum seekers, and of the wonderful work being done to help them by many groups in Bristol. There is a great deal of good will from many people in Bristol, but some of those who would be willing to help do not understand what they could do.
As before, we believe that 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.
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 we would be grateful if you were able to make a contribution towards the food and the cost of organising these events.
We will plan the precise timetable for 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 who are working in the field of refugees and asylum seekers. If this invitation has not yet reached your organisation (or your part of your organisation!) then we apologise: please accept this as your invitation and get in touch.
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; you will not be expected to join in the prayer part of the event, but you are welcome to do so if you choose; and in any case, we hope you will not mind if we pray for you as one part of our response.
If you are working in this area, please read and respond to the questions; if you can join us on the day, please sign up so we know you are coming, and let us know you have something to contribute so we can collate and circulate the details on the day.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions, do let us know.