Local Outreach to New HK Chinese in Exeter
Last Saturday, 11th September, members of three Exeter churches welcomed HK Chinese new to Exeter. The sun shone while 35 new residents enjoyed tea, coffee, cakes and chat.
The three churches in Exeter, St Leonards, Pinhoe Road Baptist, and the Exeter Chinese Christian Church, are part of the Welcome Churches network. The churches decided they’d like to offer a warm welcome to new Hong Kong Chinese who have recently arrived in the city. The event was organised by William and Louisa Bradridge from Christian TEFL, and held in a local garden.
Louisa (bottom left in picture) comments:
“We were absolutely thrilled that so many people were able to attend. We had a lovely group of helpers who served tees, coffees and cold drinks. It was an opportunity to get to know new people and find out some of their needs and concerns. It was really exciting to learn about their culture, aspirations and hopes as then start out on a new chapter of their lives in the South West.”
Welcome Churches is encouraging churches from up and down the UK to join their network. They aim to offer a helping hand to settlers from Hong Kong, as well as refugees and asylum seekers.
What’s next in Exeter?
Here in Exeter, we now want to know how best to support our new HK Chinese friends. It seems that building friendships with local people is important. But, we’d like to hear from them about what they would find most helpful. So, we’ve started a WhatsApp group and have sent out a short survey which asks them how best we can keep in touch and support them going forward.
We’ve asked whether they’d like to meet up for similar events. These might include walks along the river, practising English through classes or more informally at a conversation café. We also asked whether they’d like to know more about Jesus. Christian TEFL has trained a number of other churches in the UK to start and grow English language classes to support second language speakers.
A social event like this is a great way of offering the hand of friendship to those who are new to our city. Hopefully, when appropriate, we’ll also be able to share the good news of Jesus with those who don’t yet know him as well.