Christmas is a time for celebrating love and friendship, for getting together with others, having fun and eating mince pies, so this Christmas we did just that with around 100 members of the refugee and asylum seeking community in Bristol!
Hosted by Severn Vineyard Church, 175 people from all different cultures and backgrounds came together for one afternoon to make paper chains, decorate Christmas trees, play games, meet Santa and hear the Severn Vineyard Gospel Choir sing! We explored what Christmas is about and the reasons behind some of the common traditions. We ate a random mix of traditional, and not so traditional foods!
And we enjoyed the looks on the kids faces as they received a present from Santa, unwrapped a chocolate from pass-the-parcel, and laughed and chatted with their friends who they seem so comfortable with even though a year ago many of them had never met. It was fantastic to watch families from the UK, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Spain, Canada and Yemen connecting over a plate of pizza, tabbouleh and Christmas cake, and we hope that for those who were experiencing their first Christmas in the UK, the event would have helped them feel welcomed and including during this season.
At this time of year we continue to pray for peace in this world, and we celebrate when we see a room full of beautiful people from all over the world connecting, having fun, building friendships and enjoying an afternoon together.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped on the day, to Severn Vineyard who hosted everyone, and to Near Neighbours and Brisdoc for your kind support towards these events.