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Many of you will know that our church, together with Creech Baptist and Taunton Vineyard, were the founder members of CHARIS which was formed four years ago to be a Community Sponsor organisation in response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

So far we have worked with four families and helped with the provision of English Language teaching for several others.

In conjunction with the Home Office, CHARIS has also worked to encourage and support other Community Sponsorship groups across the South West (Wiltshire to Cornwall).   We have mentored more than 20 groups, many of which are now sponsoring at least one family of their own.

Thirdly, we are in the process of setting up a Welcome Centre for refugees here in Taunton. Our heart for this centre is to create a sustainable resource base for all refugees and a point of engagement and interaction allowing community groups and refugees to work and learn together.  Premises for the Welcome Centre have been offered by our partners, Taunton Vineyard Church, just a stone’s throw from St Mary Magdalene’s, and conversion work is almost complete.

Please pray for the families we support and for the wider work of CHARIS which seeks to obey the command to love one another (John 13:34-35 & Luke 6:35). If you would like to know more of the work or explore how you might help, do speak to me.

Richard Austin

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