Could your church become a 'Place of Welcome'?

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Published: 15th November 2021

Carrie with a Place of Welcome bannerCarrie Blount is the Places of Welcome Co-ordinator for the Black Country and is encouraging more churches to think about joining the Places of Welcome network.

She said: “Places of Welcome is a national network of venues which are known for being places where people can be sure of a warm welcome, a cup of tea or coffee and where someone will listen to them and signpost to other places of support as appropriate. Many churches are already doing similar things, but joining the network helps churches to make better connections with their communities, supported by the use of our branding, and promotion through the Places of Welcome website and Transforming Communities Together (TCT) online presence also.”

Carrie provides additional support for churches in Dudley, with training available on areas such as dementia and applying for funding, and access to documents including risk assessments and ideas for activities. Carrie also links Places of Welcome together, so there is a support network which shares ideas and good news stories that can inform and encourage each other.

“There is no fee to join the Place of Welcome network,” continues Carrie. “They play a hugely important role in helping with issues of isolation and loneliness and provide safe places for people to go. We’d love to have more churches on board. I’d like here to be many more Places of Welcome in Dudley, so there’s somewhere for people to go each day.”People at the Place of Welcome in Lye Church

Christ Church in Lye hosts a Place of Welcome, offering tea, coffee and biscuits each Friday from 11am – 1pm. There are regularly around 10 – 20 people attending. Carrie was able to provide them with a banner for the church and an A-frame to place outside to let more people know what’s happening.

Doug McLean is an ALM worship leader and helps to run the morning. He said:

“Anyone is welcome to come through the doors. We chose to open at lunchtime so those who were working could pop in an have a cuppa in their break and during the summer we also put up a marquee outside to show people what was happening. It has been really appreciated in our multi-cultural, multi-faith community and has made a big difference in helping people feel welcome in our church space.”

Places of Welcome A-frameChris regularly attends another Place of Welcome in Dudley, at Woodside Internet Centre, and he said: “Being Bipolar, in the past I’ve often found it easy to isolate myself. In an attempt to tackle this, I was referred to Woodside Community Centre and started engaging with the staff and projects there. This led me to participating in the Woodside Internet Café and eventually assisting with the upkeep of the IT equipment and networking as a way to give back to a group. I have also found that having a regular commitment that involves helping others also makes a difference to my own mental health.”

There are five essential elements of a Place of Welcome (known as the 5P’s):

  • Place: An accessible and hospitable building, open at the same time every week.
  • People: Open to everyone regardless of their circumstances or situation, and staffed by volunteers.
  • Presence: A place where people actively listen to one another.
  • Provision:  Offering free refreshments and basic local information.
  • Participation: Recognising that every person coming to a Place of Welcome will bring talents, experiences and skills that they might be willing to share locally. 

For more information about becoming a Place of Welcome, contact Carrie via email (if you are in Dudley Borough) or visit the website. “Welcoming people is what Christians are called to do,” said Carrie. “Places of Welcome are all about following Jesus’ example by loving our neighbour!”

Places of Welcome is part of Transforming Communities Together (TCT).  TCT works across the Dioceses of Lichfield and Worcester to support churches as they think about social action, discipleship and engagement with the local community.  TCT’s mission is to work with churches to seek the common good, working for justice as a people of hope, so that communities may flourish and those who are vulnerable, isolated and disadvantaged might enjoy life in its fullness. If you would like to find out how TCT can help your church, please email them.  and visit the website.

 

 


Page last updated: 15th November 2021 3:03 PM
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