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Growing ministry with Persian Christians

Many Persian asylum seekers continue to arrive in the UK fleeing persecution: Iranians, Kurds and Afghans. These people are often sent to deprived communities in Yorkshire whilst their claims are slowly processed. There are already over 8,000 people of Iranian birth living in our region, with more people arriving and being granted asylum each year.

For over twenty years our churches have had the privilege of providing unconditional welcome to marginalised people in moments of extreme need, witnessing lives transformed, and of responding to a hunger for our liberating gospel message.

The Kings Cross Church in Hexthorpe, Doncaster, was one of the first UK churches to create a worshipping community specifically for Farsi-speaking Iranians, and continues to provide

Farsi-language worship, Bible studies and fellowship activities to this day.

Princes Avenue Methodist Church, Hull, has run the Open Doors refugees and asylum seeker support hub since 2000. In the last few years the church has welcomed many people from Open Doors into its multinational worshipping congregation. The church is developing a model of bilingual worship, supplemented by midweek translated Bible studies.

In Sheffield, Methodists have been instrumental in creating a culture of support for refugees, including in establishing Sheffield City of Sanctuary. Today this and other charities cluster around Victoria Hall Methodist Church in the heart of the city, which hosts Sheffield's multi-agency asylum support drop-in. Farsi-translated Bible studies have been held in recent years at two Sheffield Circuit churches.

We are now recruiting a Persian Ministry Development Enabler so this ministry can continue to grow and mature across Sheffield Methodist District and Yorkshire North & East Methodist District. This new role will intentionally foster self-sustaining and self-empowering cultures and practices within Persian congregations and host churches, and create networks and centres of expertise. It will provide inclusive strategic leadership, grounded both within Persian culture and Methodist understandings of church and authentic evangelism.

Further details about this role can be found at www.sheffieldmethodist.org/recruitment/vacancies

Revd. Leslie Newton, Chair of the Yorkshire North & East District, said: "We are committed to growing Flourishing Missional Communities. This step forward in Persian ministry will help us to develop a new culture which inspires vocations, sows generously, appoints leaders and changes structures for growth."

Neil Harland, Mission Development Support Worker, Sheffield District, said: "This is a response for such a time as this to marginalised people who have asked us to be sharers of spiritual, emotional and practical good news. It takes us back to our roots as inclusive communities of Christian disciples, and of empowering disenfranchised people to become co-leaders in this."

A translation of this is available on the right hand side of this page.

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