Building a Welcoming Community

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EMBRACE can provide a speaker for talks to churches and church groups. We can deliver presentations on a range of topics relating to welcome, asylum and migration.

We are also happy to explore other ways of supporting initiatives of welcome. If you have ideas for events or collaborations for which EMBRACE could contribute please contact us.

For more information or to arrange a speaking engagement, please contact EMBRACE on 028 9066 3145, or email info@embraceni.org


To provide information and encourage discussion, these awareness-raising events and workshops can be broadly themed or specific to issues such as migration, asylum, or racism

‘Small World’ Café ~ An introduction to cultures in NI (15 – 24 people)
‘Small Worlds’ are cafe-style events in which people circulate around tables hosted by volunteers from different nationalities. The workshops introduce a taste of the diversity that exists in NI and provide safe space in which participants can engage with those from different backgrounds and other parts of the world.
The conversations take place in a safe and semi-structured setting that is carefully managed by a facilitator.
Currently this is provided through the South Belfast Roundtable and availability is limited due to funding.

Migration and Us: Migration Awareness (15 – 20 people)
This 2 hour interactive training session explores inward and outward migration and provides information on the rights and entitlements of migrant workers in N Ireland. It aims to dispel myths and provide practical information on issues relating to migration.

Seeking Refuge: Refugee Awareness (15 – 40 people)
A 2 hour interactive event which looks at the facts around numbers, why asylum seekers come, where they come from and what happens when they arrive in Northern Ireland seeking refuge.

Please note that at present we have less capacity to deliver activities and welcome opportunities to work with several churches or church groups together.

For more information or to arrange a training event, please contact the EMBRACE office on 028 9066 3145, or email  info@embraceni.org

Contact Us

Drop us a lineIf you would like to know more about EMBRACE, have a question relating to material on this site or would like to share your own experience of building a welcoming community please contact us.



By Telephone

Call the EMBRACE office on 028 9066 3145
Tues – Thurs, 10am – 3pm

By Post
Write to us at our office address:
48 Elmwood Avenue

By email
Simply complete the form below, using the query box to send questions and/or comments.


Wider support

To respond most sensitively and effectively it is important to be well informed and well equipped. In addition to the material on the information pages of this site you will find contact details for groups and organisations which support specific groups of ethnic minority people or have an interest in a particular aspect of their welfare along with events which raise awareness and build relationships. You will also find links to other sites, including some which provide resource materials.

If you are aware of any organisation which should be included here or if changes have been made to any of the contact details given, please let us know.

Get Involved

‘The command to love your neighbour extends to everybody who lives near you and everybody you meet in the six days between attending church. … We should avoid thinking of ‘church’ as simply a ‘church’ building and instead think of ourselves as the active, committed people of God.’
Welcoming Angels, Dublin 2005, p. 40.

Many of us would love to get to know our new neighbours, helping them to adjust to new surroundings, and building more inclusive communities. We are concerned with the needs of people who have been forced to flee from their own countries. As change produces fear and suspicion, and there is an increase in overt racism, we want to find ways of creating bridges of trust. These are just a few ideas as to how to make a start:

Becoming a more welcoming congregation
  • Ensure that your church buildings are welcoming from the outside, with clear signs.
  • Language is very important, and it is helpful if people can be greeted with a phrase or two in their own language.
  • Encourage newcomers to participate, for example, in reading a lesson or taking up the collection/ offertory.
  • Include some aspect of the worship tradition from the country of origin, such as a song or a prayer.
  • Invite members of minority ethnic Christian groups to take part in special services.
  • Hold special services for example, in Refugee Week, Anti-Racism Sunday, or Holocaust Memorial Day, and invite members of minority groups to speak or attend.
  • Could your premises be use for a drop-in centre to help people settle in, or host a mother and toddler group, recreation centre (sport or culture) for minority ethnic groups, English language classes, or an advice centre?
  • Work with others on a welcome pack for new residents.
Increasing cultural and ethnic awareness
  • Encourage racial awareness and anti-racism training in your congregation or area.
  • Hold celebration meals such as harvest suppers where you might invite people from a minority ethnic group to cook for you.
  • Celebrate festivals such as Chinese New Year.
  • Visit cultural centres together. For example, people from a rural background, anywhere in the world, will find something in common at somewhere like the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
  • Visit the cultural centres of minority ethnic communities – such as the Indian Community Centre in Belfast, to learn, and to affirm their presence as part of a shared society.
  • Learn about other people’s religious beliefs and practices by hosting an exhibition, visiting religious centres, or inviting members of other faiths to explain their religious beliefs.
  • Find ways of celebrating and honouring the achievement of individuals and groups from minority ethnic populations in your community.
  • Use any forum, inter-church groups, Community Safety Groups, District Policing Partnerships, to make sure that even minor acts of racism are taken seriously.
Some practical things you might do personally or in a group
  • Pray for the work of EMBRACE and the building of a more welcoming community.
  • Invite people from minority ethnic backgrounds to your home.
  • Learn as much as you can about the issues surrounding immigration, asylum and racism so that you can counter myths and stereotyping.
  • Join EMBRACE so that we can help to keep you informed about facts and issues.
  • Compile a dossier about racist incidents in your area and share this with community and congregational leaders.
  • Let EMBRACE know about the good and the bad news from your local area – in congregations and in the community.
  • Consider training in order to volunteer to teach English as a second language, become an adult literacy tutor, volunteer as a translator, or teach computer literacy.
  • Undertake race awareness or cultural diversity training.
  • Volunteer with other groups or forums such as the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS), or Red Cross, and welcoming initiatives such as the Belfast Friendship Club.
  • Contribute to the EMBRACE emergency fund or the ongoing work of EMBRACE.
  • Donate goods, volunteer assistance and/or financial support to other charities such as minority ethnic support organisations and foodbanks.

For some further ideas keep an eye on the web site for forthcoming events and appeals.


Welcome to the website for EMBRACE NI

This site supports the work of EMBRACE in building a welcoming community by providing background information, details of events and ideas for response.
Please browse through the pages and if you require further information,
contact us.

And You Welcomed Me
Workshops which consider ways in which the local church can engage with migrant people.
Date: Saturday 20th November  2010
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Templepatrick Presbyterian Church
Details: An opportunity to look at how existing church programmes and new initiatives can be used to welcome and engage with migrant people. Participants can also look at some of the issues faced by migrant people and how the church can respond. There is no charge for this event.  All are welcome. Please register your attendance by emailing info@embraceni.org