How to love the stranger living among you?


In keeping with the theme of the Forum this year, ‘How to love the stranger living among us’, I will be leading us as we explore a biblical theology of migration.


In keeping with the theme of the Forum this year, ‘How to love the stranger living among us’, I will be leading us as we explore a biblical theology of migration.

Migration is, of course, a hugely relevant topic in the world at the moment, with vast and increasing numbers of migrants fleeing instability and poverty to seek a better life in Europe. With the UK considered by many hopeful travellers as the ‘holy grail’ of destinations, it shouldn’t surprise us that the government office for statistics (ONS) predicts a UK population increase of 10 million over the next 25 years. The biggest single factor behind this projected increase is the influx of working-age migrants into the UK and the children born to them within these shores.

What should we make of these things as Christians in the UK today? Is this a regrettable state of affairs that threatens our ‘Christian heritage’ or a sovereignly directed divine opportunity? Or perhaps those are false alternatives and the answer is some combination of the two? What does the Bible say about migration and the right attitudes to have towards immigrants? Why does God move people about?

To ground our Biblical thinking in concrete realities I will also be sharing the stories of one or two real life UK migrants and describing how, in coming to Britain, they found a living faith in Jesus Christ as their saviour and Lord.

My intention is to motivate and encourage us in our interactions with people from overseas and to give solid biblical foundations to remind us why we do what we do and to sustain us over the long haul.

  • David Baldwin

    My day to day work is very varied, so I’m virtually never bored, but also never quite on top of things either. Every day starts in more or less the same way, getting my daughter out for school (easy), feeding and walking the dogs (easier) and drinking good coffee (easiest) with my Bible open. My wife, Maura, and I are SIM missionaries, directing a project called two:nineteen, but we are seconded to Oak Hill College, where we acts as house parents and I direct the missions stream. A good day might involve visiting a local church asking two:nineteen for advice about surveying their local community and how best to engage with them. Perhaps they’d be asking about how to start ESL classes, or how to move from teaching English to evangelism, or what church life might look like with more cultures involved. If on site here at college, there would be students to chat to at break times, and sometimes more privately, if there are specific problems to chat and pray about. Maybe a class on culture to teach, or a mission rep. chat to, or a specialist lecturer to invite in. Then there are those dreaded e-mails, of course, which I have come to loathe.

    A notable cross-cultural experience was hurting my dear Ethiopian friend and colleague, Wondimu, by thinking, acting and speaking in a very western and individualistic way about our new car, when it arrived with us in rural Ethiopia. I snapped at him when he kept praising God that ‘our car’ had arrived. ‘It’s not our car, it’s my car. I pay the bills,’ I told him. Weeks later he found the courage to tell me that he understood all that, but merely wanted to share in my family’s joy and how much my words had hurt him. Ouch.