Face to Face participants meeting in Utrecht have been working in centres and churches supporting people who experience migration. They visited a detention centre where they were shown around the facility and met with some residents.
Residents live here while they apply to stay in the Netherlands. Those who are successful in their application will be found permanent houses and may be joined by families. Others who are unsuccessful will be provided with the means to return to their home country.
Although the detention centre is rather bleak the staff work hard to support people and make life comfortable for them. Whilst in the centre people can volunteer in projects in nearby towns, learn languages and Dutch culture. Children attend school and the smallest ones go to nursery. They also participate in social groups, activities and programmes organised by churches, charities and volunteers.
Participants also spent time reflecting on their experiences, theology and the Bible with Revd Fleur Houston, a United Reformed Church (URC) minister who has published and worked extensively on issues of migration.
We are in the final days of the programme and participants are now making their final presentations. They will present to each other their experiences, reflections and ideas, alongside representatives from their locations and friends from the Protestant Church in the Netherland (PCN). Pictured above is Kai-An from the Presbyterian church of Taiwan asking “who is my neighbour?”
Rev Wayne Hawkins
REGIONAL SECRETARY – EUROPE