Richard Webster SJ, Jesuit living in the Hurtado Jesuit community in East London and Operations Assistant at JRS UK
Why do you think the work of JRS UK is relevant today?
In recent years, not just here in Britain or even in Europe, but around the world, we’ve seen both public policy and populist narratives that are deeply hostile to migrants, treating them with suspicion as unwelcome and threatening strangers. Our work is relevant precisely because of the way JRS gives witness to an alternative by offering welcome, friendship, and compassion.
How does your work/activity contribute to the mission of JRS?
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic we have had to temporarily close our daycentre which is visited by refugees living all over London. We are now delivering food, toiletries and other essential items directly to them and my role is organising the deliveries that go out from the centre. It is a very practical form of service which also reflects JRS’ flexibility in responding to immediate needs.
What does JRS UK mean to you?
As a Jesuit I am struck by some words spoken by Father General Kolvenbach paraphrasing St Ignatius that, “our commitment to follow a poor Lord, quite naturally makes us friends of the poor.” JRS accompanies some of the most marginalised people in our society with the vision that we come to know each other as friends, each one created in the image of God.