Imagine Norfolk Together Who we are What we do Get involved Blog Contact us August 2016 - When did we see you a stranger? In Great Yarmouth 71.5% of voters voted to leave the European Union, the 5th highest percentage in the country. Alongside this we also have a high ratio of migrant workers in our community. Much has already been written about Brexit, but these are dynamics which can’t be ignored, and so I had planned to add some thoughts. However as I began to try to put my thoughts to paper, I came across this article written by Rt Rev Alan Winterton, Bishop of Thetford and I realised that I couldn’t articulate it any better: http://www.networkyarmouth.co.uk/Articles/473361/Network_Yarmouth/News/Viewpoint/Viewpoint_from_Rt.aspx How do we in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston show “active practical love and welcome"? So the question is posed: how do we in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston show “active practical love and welcome”? One initiative supported by Imagine Norfolk Together is The Living Room (details in newsletter). Part of the reason for setting up The Living Room is to provide a place of safety for those who are experiencing times of short-term crisis. Some of these are likely to be migrant workers. Migrant workers are often employed in seasonal work. When the work dries up they are not only unemployed, but a significant proportion also have no access to support from the UK benefit system. This can mean that they are almost immediately made homeless, unable to access emergency housing and unable to afford food. This would be devastating at the best of times, but in cold weather it is even more likely to be fatal. I have already heard various arguments against the idea of providing an overnight safe space for the homeless. But it comes down to this. In October 2015 a Portuguese man died of starvation and pneumonia in a disused hotel in Great Yarmouth and his body wasn’t found for 5 days. If there are ways to stop this ever happening again, surely we have to try to find and support them. We are all made in the image of God and loved by God, whether British, Portugese, Polish, employed, unemployed, addicted to drugs, addicted to chocolate. And the best way we can show love to God is to show love to people, whoever they are. If you can get involved with The Living Room, please do. If you have ideas of more ways to show active practical love and welcome please contact me, I would love to hear from you. ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"