The Big Welcome
“ At Centrepoint Church we love seeing new students arrive!”
Every September we love to welcome in new students, including many international students who come from all over the world. We give them serving opportunities, get them integrated into church life, put them on leadership training courses and help them to grow in their faith.
When I started university, after a few months I found a church that fed me every week, treated me like an adult, gave me opportunities to grow and had grace for me when I was away. It became a home away from home!
At Centrepoint Church we love seeing new students arrive. We love to serve them throughout their student years and encourage them to go to both our student-only events as well as general church activities, so that every student can get to know their peers and the rest of the church well.
A great joy of ours is celebrating every final year student who leaves us strong in their faith, as they embark on their future serving God, and advancing the good news of the gospel wherever in the world they may go.
Some even stay, and that’s great too!
- Chris, Lead Pastor, Centrepoint Church, Guildford
Meet & Greet: Welcoming Students at Heathrow
I set up the Meet & Greet Scheme with Margaret Goodgame 18 years ago! We have been welcoming international students arriving into Terminal 3 at London Heathrow every September ever since.
Why do we do it?
We want international students to experience authentic Christian love through practical help. Tiredness, a crush of people and lack of familiarity with the arrival complex, lead to some students feeling and looking disoriented. A helpful individual with a smile on their face is a welcome sight!
What do we do?
We connect students up with what they need: currency; a new SIM card; finding the bus station; a toilet; linking with university welcome teams when their students get stuck in immigration and university coaches won`t wait for stragglers. We also give students the LIFEUK booklet (a guide to life in the UK), facilitating further contact with us if they want it.
Who volunteers to help?
Local church members from across London who can see that involvement in a project like this can be a first step in getting ‘mission on your doorstep’ onto a local church agenda.
What results do we see?
The initial relief on a student`s face – then usually the question, “Why do you do this?” or “How much does it cost?”. We see students connecting with Friends International work in their university city. Also, it facilitates a gradually growing profile with university welcome teams, and hopefully a good name with university authorities.
- Bob Dawson, Friends International Senior Advisor