Welcome Directory

Tried and tested ideas for showing a welcome:

“Welcome!” How much nicer that sounds than “go away”.
Yet, sadly, “go away” seems sometimes to be spoken in a louder voice, than “welcome”.
We are convinced that many readers of the Methodist Newsletter want to say “welcome”, but maybe aren’t sure how to go about it. Some individuals and groups throughout the Connexion have already taken the initiative and become involved in different projects. To encourage and give ideas, we list below those that we have heard of. We hope that they will inspire more to become involved. If you are already engaged with something, please contact us, so that we can add your project to this directory, and you too can be an encourager of others. 

We understand this to be important, not only because we are exhorted by Christ to “take in the stranger”, but also because when people are included they are less likely to be alienated.   

Ballymena: Inter-ethnic Forum:

founded by Ivy Goddard it is hoped that Inter- ethnic fora will develop across N. Ireland. Ballymena Methodist Church provides a safe space for the local Muslim Women’s sewing group, which also provides an opportunity for them to meet with bodies such as the PSNI. Congregational members also come to such meetings to learn about their concerns. 
Relaxed events such as “Saffron and Soda” (kilts and bread? / flavouring and drinks?) have also been held.  
Because of the known interest in welcoming the stranger, they were asked to host a visit by members of the Northern Ireland Council of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS), who wished to meet some “good women” of Northern Ireland. The relaxed programme included hand massage and origami! 

(Contact: Eliane)

Bandon: Funky Fish café –

this is a youth café, in a smallish country town, but an unintended consequence is that it has “always been a melting pot of different nationalities and backgrounds …… including several Muslim families, eastern Europeans, Italian students, Africans, Irish Traveller young people. ….. we have watched over the years while different groups arrive, sometimes face initial hostility, then gradually make friends in the café and get to a stage where nationalities are no longer an issue and they all just feel part of the same group. …… having Muslim young people, who happen to be among our most prominent and popular young people, helps a lot to dispelling (anti-Muslim) sentiment.”

(Contact: Keith Kingston)

Clonakilty:

Craft and Friendship group. This takes place in the Direct Provision hostel for asylum seekers in the town. This group existed previously under the leadership of Evelyn Kingston and Elizabeth Giles. It is currently led by members of the Clonakilty and Bandon congregations who meet with a number of the women in The Lodge to make crafts and to chat.

(Contact: Carol Maguire)      

Dublin: Centenary –

English Conversation group: this is an informal morning of conversation – purposefully not a class with set learning goals. However, each “leader” for that week comes prepared with a topic, which may or may not be the focus of the conversation. Some correction of grammar or pronunciation may take place, but that is not the main focus. Many of the participants are spouses of people working here, several with young children, and it sometimes provides an opportunity to enquire, in a safe space, about different cultural practices e.g. children’s parties. (Contact: Methodist Centenary)

DCM – English classes are held 4 days per week:

Mon: 6.00-7.00pm
Tues: 11am-12noon; 6.00-7.00pm
Wed: 2.00-4.00pm
Thurs: 11am-12noon; 2pm-4pm; 6.00-7.00pm
Different levels are catered for at a cost of €1 per hour
Thursday: free class at 4pm: reading from the Bible
Friday: 10am-12noon – informal, free, art class

(Contact: 01 8744 668 (from NI 00353 1 8744 668) or email Graham)

Lucan:

in September 2017 local congregational members started a conversation group, which is now up and running with a small core group attending regularly and others popping in.
(Contact:  Wendy Fair Or, through their website, fao Wendy Fair)

Killarney:  

Since 2000 members of the Methodist congregation have been involved with KASI – Killarney Asylum Seekers’ Initiative, which now also includes other migrants. Provision includes English tuition, a vegetable plot, a charity shop and inclusion in the preparation and provision of school meals, which now happens in three schools.
(Contact: Ed

Limerick:

After becoming friends with immigrants at church a Methodist member started a volunteer-led homework club, in response to a recognised need expressed by parents. 
Later, friends, lecturers at a local teacher training college, volunteered to give “grinds” to teenagers in one of the direct provision centres, again as the result of a need as expressed by parents, unable to provide such – a regular thing, now, for secondary school students. 
After getting to know residents in a local Direct Provision centre she also raised funds so that the hostel residents could provide the Christmas presents they wanted to give their children. (They are on a minimal allowance, so do not have sufficient funds themselves.)   
A sewing group in the Direct Provision centre meant not only that residents gained the confidence to join a local group but also enabled a Pakistani tailor in the hostel to share his skills. 
Involving the men is more difficult but walking with them in the local forest, with volunteers providing transport, worked.

“The young lads love the zip wire and their laughter is a gift.” 

Doing business in the bank she mentioned it to the cashier, a local GAA team captain. It ended up with him and his team mates doing coaching sessions!

“I have accompanied people to hospital appointments, to the social welfare office when they have received residency papers and needed interim help, to the local TD when desperate to attend college and faced with university fees and more often put them in touch with those who can help them locally, as I would for my own children. There are so many things we do easily knowing the system or knowing people who know the system, that are not universal. 
I (would)  ….  encourage people to just go out and make friends with people, more than anything that is what people need….”

(Queries can be sent through to Liz)   


Portadown:

(i) Individual participation in volunteer-led classes at the immigrant centre run by the local Catholic parish. The free classes, which use the “Headway” course books, are not accredited, but an in-house certificate is recognised locally.  Many of the participants work in the nearby Moypark processing plant.
(To email click here)

(ii) English classes for Polish speakers …… started in conjunction with a Polish member of the congregation, who runs the class with her (Scottish) sister-in-law. Realising that participants had children, whom they wished to come too, a youth group was also started with football for the boys and craft for the girls. They finished up for the summer with a barbeque.
(To email click here

Waterford:

Members of the congregation here are taking a lead in the Place of Sanctuary Movement in conjunction with other churches and bodies in the city. 
City of Sanctuary started in Sheffield and was an initiative of the Methodist Minister, the Rev. Indergit Bhogal. Place of Sanctuary Waterford is a development of this. Its aim is to “build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary” through different sectors in a community making a commitment to the culture of hospitality.
In their premises, the St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre provides a welcoming and safe space for groups from many of the “new communities” in the city, as well as for more established groups.
(To email click here)

Please send information, and maybe a photo, of your project to the Council on Social Responsibility - to send an email click here