Refugees and asylum seekers living in Leeds have been able to enjoy a weekend away in the Yorkshire Dales thanks to a partnership between an inner city church and a Christian retreat centre.
Thirty six refugees, including ten children, who all are supported by Meeting Point at Christ Church Armley, spent two days at the Jonas Centre, near Leyburn in Wensleydale enjoying local walks, crafts, activities, meals together and an all-inclusive Christian service on the Sunday,
Meeting Point was set up in 2003 and runs a drop-in, group activities and trips. In the past year alone, it has welcomed 2,878 visits to the drop-in, by 232 individual adults and 56 children. It has served 1,567 food parcels and 2,565 hot meals.
Six families were among those who took part in the Jonas Centre weekend with twelve different nationalities represented Everyone was delightewd with their visit . Among some of the comments:...
‘This was my first time at Jonas Centre. When I arrived, I was welcomed, and I felt welcomed in the Spirit. I met Christian people and we had a nice service. I really enjoyed it and I hope I can come again.”
“Going away with Meeting Point made me happy and I learned more from other people. It helped me to be more observant of others and nature. I felt like we had Mother Theresa with us, hidden among us, with all the help and love.”
“Thank you, everybody who prepared for this trip. We wish we could stay at this place longer, it was so perfect. Everyone is so kind to us. It was an amazing trip, one that we will never forget. We took some beautiful pictures.”
“The Jonas Centre trip was awesome. We had a great time, and felt like a community, which was great for us. Yesterday we went to the castle and it was beautiful and fun. We look forward to coming again, when we can have no stress.”
The Jonas Centre has just celebrated its 20th birthday as a Christian retreat and activity centre. It has always had a philosophy of being open to all, regardless of gender, culture, disability, race or religious belief or affiliation and offers low cost holiday to bring groups, families and individuals closer together.
For more information about The Jonas Centre call 01969 624900 or visit their website, www.jonascentre.org