Christians are being urged to sign up to a pledge committing to offering hospitality to a stranger this year.
The charity co-ordinator and director of Afghan Welcome, Dr Krish Kandiah is pioneering a new way of encouraging practical action in the spirit of the Gospel. He hopes people sign up to the Hospitality Pledge and commit to making 2022 a year of Christian hospitality.
The Hospitality Pledge www.hospitalitypledge.org encourages people to take three simple but meaningful actions each week, to show welcome including to those who are experiencing loneliness, homelessness or who are seeking asylum.
Dr Kandiah has been speaking to Premier about the idea.
“I believe hospitality is one of the discerning and defining features of what it means to be a Christian. You see that from Jesus himself, that even as he's dying on a cross, he's welcoming someone into heaven alongside him. So offering kindness, compassion and welcome to people in need, that’s what it means to follow in Jesus' footsteps.
“But as a nation because of lockdown and the pandemic, I think we've become slightly nervous of engaging even with our neighbours. So we came up with this suggestion of making 2022 a year of hospitality and encouraging Christians up and down the nation to take our hospitality pledge to think about what they can do to make their families and their churches, more welcoming to other people.
“Each day, we'll send you a little bit of inspiration from Matthew's Gospel, walking in the footsteps of Jesus and we encourage you to take three actions a week. The first is to eat with someone that you wouldn't normally and that could be as simple as sharing some cookies with your neighbour, or it could be as radical as inviting a homeless person to come and share a sandwich with you.
“We also want you to talk someone that you wouldn't normally, and that might be as simple as phoning a distant relative that you haven't spoken to in a long time. Or it might be getting in touch with welcome churches, where we're giving you opportunity to meet refugees in your community.
“The third thing we're asking people to do is to share something they wouldn't normally with someone in need. That can be as simple as giving to a charity, or it could be becoming a host to a refugee, who needs somewhere to live for the next couple of months.
“We’re encouraging people to take the step that's appropriate to them at this stage in their lives. Or it could be a really radical, big step. But whatever we do, we want to walk in Jesus's footsteps and show hospitality to others.”
“I call it the cascade of grace - that God has poured grace into our lives that we might pour it into others. “