It is our duty, joy and privilege to welcome into our community and support those who have come to this country seeking asylum from persecution, threat and danger in their countries of origin.
Asylum-seekers and those who have been granted asylum are fully welcomed into membership and ministry in this church community just as all other people are, but we also offer support specific to the needs of asylum-seekers.
This is a work encouraged in us throughout scripture, from Leviticus 19:34, which says: ‘you will treat resident foreigners as though they were native-born and love them as yourself’, through many instances in the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, to the command of Jesus himself: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome… when you did this to one of the least of these, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25: 34-40)
God has no favourites, and takes no account of nationality (Acts 10:34), but does urge us strongly to look for every opportunity to share with those in need and be hospitable (Romans 12:13), remembering, as St Paul has told us, that in Christ we are all one people, citizens of heaven and resident aliens in this world, regardless of where we were born or where we now live.
All refugees and asylum-seekers are welcome at MCC North London, but we are particularly called, equipped and experienced to support LGBTQ asylum-seekers, and those fleeing from homophobic, transphobic or biphobic persecution. This work is our special gift from God and we have committed ourselves to it wholeheartedly.
Letters of Support
MCCNL will provide letters to support claims to asylum, written by a member of the Pastoral Team or the Lay Delegate, once we have got to know them for at least six months, and met the conditions set out in our protocol. This is important, because it ensures that the letters we send are truly valuable and meaningful support, taken seriously as evidence by the Home Office.
It is sadly true that sometimes those seeking asylum are detained by the Home Office at one of the detention centres. Our visiting team will always do our best to visit, when requested, any asylum-seeker detained in this way. You are not alone!
Interviews and Hearings
Our Asylum Support worker, and other members of the team as appropriate, can accompany people to hearings and interviews with the Home Office, where this is permitted, for pastoral and emotional support, and when we have written a letter of support, can also be called upon to give evidence in person in support of the claim where this is required.
One of our major fundraising aims is to raise money for travel, data, phone top-ups, and food and necessities for asylum-seekers in financial hardship. The amount of funds available varies depending on the success of our fundraising, but the will to give is always present!
We can also help with such practical tasks as filling out forms, reading documents, finding temporary emergency accommodation, and for those who have been granted, making applications for jobs, study courses, accommodation and support schemes. Our volunteer Asylum Support Worker is OISC qualified to offer basic advice on legal matters. We can also direct to other groups with particular experience and qualifications – see ‘Signposting’.
Support group – This is currently not running due to coronavirus
We are not qualified to offer complex legal advice, medical or psychological support, or translation services. We can however refer to groups who do have this knowledge. Some of these are:
UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group https://uklgig.org.uk/
Rainbows Across Borders, https://www.rainbowsacrossborders.org.uk/
Out and Proud African lgbti, https://africanlgbti.org/
Microrainbow International, https://microrainbow.org/
Women for Refugee Women https://www.refugeewomen.co.uk, run a group for lesbian and bisexual women called Rainbow Sisters
MCCNL offers pastoral support to all our attendees, but we are very aware that seeking asylum, as well as the homophobic situations that have come before, brings trauma and distress. We are always here to listen to your story and your concerns, to pray with you and offer spiritual support. We will always strive to be attentive listeners, non-judgmental supporters, and faithful companions on your journey.
As a community, we will pray together for all your struggles, grieve together for your losses and celebrate your successes. We will encourage and support you to find and express your skills, talents and gifts, and celebrate your full, God-given identity community in all our diversity. MCCNL believes in God’s fully-inclusive love.
Activism and Campaigning
Between 2017 and 2019 MCC North London commissioned a research project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, looking at the issues facing LGBT African asylum seekers. The findings of that report cover many different types of issues faced by asylum seekers such as those who attend MCC North London, including issues related to faith, racism, financial and housing difficulties, emotional and psychological difficulties, and many aspects of the asylum application process itself. The research and report were also supported by the Enfield LGBT Network and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. Please click the link above if you would like to download a copy of the report.
MCCNL is committed to supporting reform to immigration law and process, to ending the unjust detention of asylum-seekers, to combatting homophobia and transphobia worldwide, and to combatting racism within the UK.
We are committed to centering, attending to, and raising up the voices of Asylum Seekers, and supporting their campaigns and aims.
Unlearning religious homophobia and transphobia, and healing our wounds
MCCNL believes that the churches have done great damage with homophobic preaching and teaching, and seek to undo that damage by showing how God loves God’s LGBTQI children. We offer regular courses, preaching, 1 to 1 support, and resources to counter homophobic church teachings, and to explain how the Bible should not be used to condemn LGBTQI people, and how we can reclaim a fully inclusive faith. See the resources section, or speak to the Pastor to see what is available.