Christian love should be at the heart of all our relationships. However, we are sometimes diffident when facing people from another culture or unsure of how to communicate welcome appropriately and sensitively across cultures.
Our response should be motivated and guided by what the Bible says about relationships with incomers and people who are different from us. The welcome we give should be appropriate to the needs and resources in our own locality.
Celtic Blessing for Hospitality
I put food in the eating place
Drink in the drinking place
Music in the listening place
And in the sacred name of the Triune
He blessed myself and my house
My cattle and my dear ones
As the lark said in her song ‘Often, often, often
Goes Christ in the stranger’s guise.’
Quoted in What the Bible says about the stranger by Kieran J O’Mahony OSA. The Churches’ Peace Education Programme, Irish Commission of Justice and Peace & Irish Council of Churches, Maynooth and Belfast, 1999.
Advising people from other countries who are encountering difficulties:
Churches, congregations, groups and individual Christians sometimes encounter people from other countries who are in crisis situations and have difficulty because many do not have access to the same entitlements as local people. Resident minority-ethnic people may also experience difficulties because of racist attitudes.
These situations often raise complex immigration issues. It is always best to ask an expert for advice in individual cases. (It is illegal to give immigration advice without a licence.)
EMBRACE has prepared a signposting document for responding to people in need. This document was prepared in 2014 and is being reviewed in response to changes in legislation and the groups which are able to provide advice and support. Advice Document: advice.
It is hoped that a revised advice document will be available shortly.