New arrivals from Hong Kong continue to be supported and welcomed by St Barnabas’ Church in Alwoodley.
Since the announcement in 2021 of the British National Overseas passport scheme, allowing Hong Kong citizens to come and reside in the UK, North Leeds has seen a large number move from Hong Kong.
In response to this, St Barnabas have been working alongside Faith Action to reach out to those moving from Hong Kong, by providing weekly English classes.
Some of the arrivals have also joined the church, attending worship regularly on a Sunday. A number were baptised at the weekend during St Barnabas' Sunday worship service (pictured below).
Revd David Young, Vicar at St Barnabas and the only clergy person in our diocese with both British and Chinese heritage, said, “It’s been such a great joy in the last eighteen months to see growing numbers of people from Hong Kong coming to worship here at St Barnabas.
“Reaching out to welcome new arrivals from Hong Kong has become an important part of our ministry. One of the main ways that we have been doing this has been through Café Connect (pictured), which is a weekly English class devised by the charity Faith Action.
“What has been wonderful is how participants who came to the first course have now become leaders who are helping us to lead the current course we are running."
Dr Anne Smith from Faith Action, a national network of faith organisations wanting to make a difference in their communities, said, "It's been really exciting to see the impact that this church is having, where people are making friends, finding a place of community and belonging, and getting an amazing start when it comes to their new lives in the UK."
St Barnabas have also sought to welcome new arrivals from Hong Kong by including elements of Cantonese in some of our worship services.
“Welcoming the stranger and hospitality is at the heart of our faith in Jesus and that is what we at St Barnabas have been seeking to live out.," said Revd David Young.
“For me as someone with Hong Kong Chinese heritage, it has been so powerful to be able to welcome new friends to this church who share in my families culture.”