Working in partnership to welcome asylum seekers and refugees in north London

12 January 2022

The Revd Matt Lunn from Muswell Hill Methodist Church and Rabbi David Mason from Muswell Hill Synagogue have worked in partnership to offer a warm welcome to asylum seekers and refugees housed in their area of north London. Matt Lunn shares their story.

After hearing from Haringey Council that 60 asylum seekers had been housed in a hotel in Muswell Hill and would be out of Covid isolation in just seven days’ time,  Rabbi David Mason and I had a conversation about how we could work together to make our local area a place of welcome for our new neighbours. 

Together the church and synagogue formed Muswell Hill Welcomes later being joined by Wightman Road Mosque. We offer meals, English lessons, friendship and more to those who need this.

We decided to welcome the asylum seekers with a lunch at the Church. Volunteers brought food and Rabbi David Mason and I welcomed everyone by linking arms to show solidarity.  Since our first lunch we have decided to provide a Sunday lunch once a month and over 40 asylum seekers regularly attend.

Muswell Hill Welcomes has grown and in addition to Sunday lunches now offers:

  • Thursday Morning Drop-ins. This includes a playgroup for children, conversation classes, and a chance to have a cup of tea and a chat. We hope to start bread making at our Thursday Morning Drop-ins.
  • English Classes. Every Wednesday we hold English Classes with a teacher from Haringey Adult Learning Service including a creche for small children.
  • Clothes Donations. The Synagogue hosts a Clothes Bank during the week.
  • Family Cooking Session. As the families we support are based in a hotel, they enjoy the opportunity to cook for themselves and their families.

What the media reports about events in the world all seems depressing and we can continue to pray for those people affected by poverty, war and conflict, but we must remember we are surrounded by love. The Church, Synagogue and Mosque working together to welcome 60+ asylum seekers remind us that we are far more united.

At our last church council, we shared that this is a real Kairos moment for Muswell Hill Methodist Church by responding the needs of the local community. 

Find out more about us here.  

The Rev Matt Lunn is Minister of Holly Park, Middle Lane and Muswell Hill Churches.