EMBRACE is a group of Christians from different denominations working together to promote a positive response to people who are seeking asylum, refugees, migrant workers and people from minority-ethnic backgrounds living in Northern Ireland.

EMBRACE facilitates others in responding to people who have practical needs. The group does not help people directly but networks with other specialist groups such as the Simon Community, Homeplus, the Welcome Organisation, and the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS).

The charity was officially launched on 22nd October 2003 in the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast. The Rev. Arlington Trotman, Secretary of the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland Commission for Racial Justice, spoke at the launch, welcoming this initiative.

EMBRACE is registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC100294.


THE COMMITTEE

EMBRACE is run by a Committee of elected and co-opted volunteers, representing a variety of church backgrounds. They bring a richness of knowledge and experience in understanding migration, relating across cultures, advocacy, legislation and theology. Elections to Committee are held annually at the AGM in May.

Committee: May 2018 -2019

Dave Morton – Chairperson
Margaret McNulty – Vice-Chair
Noreen Christian – Honorary Secretary
Denise Wright – Treasurer
Scott Boldt
Irene Jovaras
David Smyth
Richard Kerr


HISTORY

EMBRACE is an inter-church organisation, which began as a support group for refugees and people seeking asylum. We now see our main role as one of encouraging church communities to make this a more welcoming place for all people from other countries and minority-ethnic backgrounds.

It began informally in 2001 as individuals from different denominations became increasingly concerned about the difficulties facing refugees and people seeking asylum in this country. They wanted to do more than talk and were committed to finding a way of responding in a Gospel manner to the new strangers in our midst.

A focus group was formed which met with organisations such as NICEM, the Red Cross, the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Law Centre as its members tried to educate themselves about the situation. It also hosted several seminars in St Clement’s retreat house in order to inform and to raise awareness of the local situation.

The next step was to contact interested people from the other Churches. Very quickly an inter-church committee was formed and from this EMBRACE was born.

The official launch of EMBRACE took place on 22nd October 2003 in the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast. The Rev. Arlington Trotman, Secretary of the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland Commission for Racial Justice, spoke at the launch, welcoming this initiative.


VISION

EMBRACE is a group of Christians who have come together to promote a positive response to minority ethnic people in Northern Ireland. We seek to equip the church to fulfil its call to welcome the stranger, by providing information, training, resource materials and channels for practical help.
EMBRACE seeks to:

  • Reflect gospel values of compassion, hospitality and justice
  • Raise awareness and provide information, resources and training
  • Respond to those in need by acting as a channel for voluntary assistance
  • Support people by human rights and welfare advocacy
  • Network with relevant agencies and groups
  • Make informed responses on issues of public policy

ADVOCACY 

EMBRACE seeks to stand alongside minority ethnic people, immigrants and those seeking asylum in matters of human rights; this may involve anti-racism training and taking part in events which raise awareness of issues relating to the welfare and rights of immigrant people. It may also mean communicating their situation and needs, and highlighting concerns in areas such as housing, education, language support, health and detention to the appropriate decision makers in local and national government.