Pastor Andy Moyle from Gateway Church chats with William about the new King’s Lynn iCaf outreach programme. He shares what the church are doing to reach refugees and internationals for Christ in Norfolk, UK.
Hi Andy, tell us a little about Gateway Church in King’s Lynn.
We were already an incredibly multi-cultural church – unusual as the area isn’t that mixed. We planted the church 14 years ago aiming to gather the nations in the area together! So we eat a lot to do that!
So how many people of different nationalities have you welcomed?
We’ve had people of over 35 nations come through our doors and currently have over a dozen nations represented most Sundays. So we’ve always been a multi-national church.
We often have mixed language worship, and sometimes whispered translation of sermons. We are working on making our eldership more multi-national – currently we are all white (but English and Dutch represented) and working on growing the team to reflect the whole body.
You’ve recently started an international café. Can you tell us a little about that?
We started the iCaf in the Church offices in April 2022. The first week there were no guests, but two Rotary clubs turned up to help fund the project. Then over the next three weeks the number of guests increased each week. This morning there were 20 refugees, 2 Latvians and 2 Lithuanians. We have such fun enjoying coffee and cake and teaching some conversational English. Each week I’ve done an epilogue explaining our faith.
It was clear almost immediately that our refugees were hungry to learn – they were asking for classroom lessons in addition to the cafe! My initial plan was to slowly ramp up the project and introduce lessons in September. But two weeks ago, we received an offer of funding towards a TEFL teacher (Carol Scott) one day a week for a year. That funding has now arrived and so we started Saturday lessons in June.
We have just started an Alpha course in Ukrainian and 4-5 regularly turn up for that.
Wow, it sounds like things are really moving forward. What is it about the iCaf that’s working so well?
The international café style gatherings are brilliant.
We aim to create an informal safe and welcoming place for refugees to come, make friends and learn some conversational English. We start with coffee and cake, people mingling and chatting in Ukrainian, Russian and English. They are sat around coffee tables. Then I do some topic-based games with the completely mixed ability group (one lady is in her 60s has zero English and another has a master’s in English from Kyiv uni!). We also have English speaking (Egyptian and Jordanian included) helpers with each group.
The guests love spot the difference activities the most as everyone can enter in.
The beginners point and learn the word and others can extend their vocabulary with descriptive language.
I continue to do a short epilogue, either using the grammar or vocab we have done in the session.
Some weeks we have done a cooking demonstration with Ukrainians showing us how to make Borscht or Varenyky, which we then enjoy. Those occasions have been full of joy and laughter!
Thanks Andy, it’s great to see how God is using you, your team and the Christian TEFL training for the King’s Lynn iCaf outreach. We must try spot the difference in our café in Exeter!
Running an iCaf isn’t rocket science. Yes, there are some things we have to prepare and organise, and prayer is crucial before we start, as well as during! However, giving internationals a friendly welcome, a safe space to meet and an opportunity to practise English (and cook!) is so valuable and a great form of outreach. Is your church doing something similar? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Andy and his team trained with Christian TEFL through our online courses. To discover more about training for your church, click here.