Lessons in hospitality as churches open their doors to strangers

Churches in the Bradford area have been learning how to be more welcoming to visitors and those in need,  with a training day on hospitality led by the Bishop of Bradford, Toby Howarth.

Sixty delegates from across the Episcopal area took part in ‘Stretch Wide Your Curtains’, an event jointly hosted by Wellsprings Together Bradford, and the Episcopal Area Lay Training team. 

Bishop Toby opened the event at St. Martin’s Church in Bradford with a talk based on the Old Testament story from Genesis Chapter 18.  “Abraham welcoming three strangers with the best of his hospitality”, Bishop Toby told the delegates, “and we were encouraged to do the same, to open the curtains of our tents wide as we may be welcoming angels without knowing it.”

Practical workshops included understanding the changes coming with Universal Credit, how to work well with volunteers, accessing funding for projects and sharing the Christian faith.

“There was a great buzz as people shared experiences and expertise”, said Liz Firth, Development Worker for Wellsprings Together, Bradford. “There was also an acknowledgement that perhaps this was just ‘the tip of the iceberg' as there was so much to hear, share and learn and go deeper into’ as we look to extend our welcome into our communities.”

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