A word from Glenn

Hi I'm Glenn and I want to welcome you to Edgeside Baptist Church.

From the October Magazine

Welcoming the Stranger

One of the pleasures of being the minister at Edgeside for the past five years has been meeting and working with and alongside visitors to our church from around the world. These have of course been the young people who have come to us from our partners Capernwray Bible College and the Pais Project. We have hosted (in no particular order) Canadians, Americans, Germans, a Korean, an Argentinian, a Romanian, a person from Switzerland (what do you call them?) and someone from Somerset.These are of course just the ones that I have been involved with.

The church has, of course, hosted many more for many more years than five and will, I am sure, continue to host many more in the future.

However, recently the church has been challenged to welcome two more people from another part of the world. Two Iranian (Persian) asylum seekers who have been placed locally by the home office. The Bible encourages us to welcome such people into our ommunities

Levitcus 19:33-34 When a foreigner resides among you in your land. do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Exodus 23:9 Do not oppress a foreigner: you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

Jesus himself said (Matthew 25:35-40)... "I was a Stranger and. "when did we see you a stranger and you welcomed me"........... | "When did we see you a stranger welcome you'................... "whatever vou did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

It has been great to see people at Edgeside Baptist obey God and welcome these new friends and help them by providing food, lifts, hospitality and other assistance in the name of Jesus

I wonder if you are aware that Christians living in Iran are among the most persecuted in the world According the to persecuted the Open Door church website (Open doors is an organisation that works with the persecutedChurch throughout world) only the Armenians and Assyrians in Iran are allowed to be Christians. They are treated as second class citizens and face imprisonment if they try and reach out to the Muslim population.

A Muslim who converts is at risk of the death penalty, Muslims are not even meant to shake hands with Christians, touch them or eat their food. Any Muslims that do convert to Christianity are forced to either practice their faith in isolation or attend underground house churches, These are often monitored and raided by police.

All this means that many Christian converts are leaving Iran and claiming asylum in countries like our own. There are churches in Manchester. Stockport, Heywood, Liverpool, and Bolton, that I know of, who have numerous Iranian Persians attending their services. Some even have Farsi (the Persian language) congregations or bilble groups. The minister from Stockport Baptist Church kindly visited us at Edgeside and brought a Farsi speaker from his congregation with him who was able to translate for us. They have been able to advise us on how we can help our friends with some legal issues, have provided us with Farsi Bibles and resources So we can use the Farsi language a little in our services. Recently I was able to accompany our new friends to a Bible Study at ockport where In was one of 3 whose first language was English among 14 whose first language was si. It was a honour to be given an opportuny toanswer some of the questions with a Farsi speaker ranslating my words and also to listen to what those from this other culture thought about the particular Bible passage we were looking at.

A few years ago we sang the carol "silent night" in German on Christmas day. More recently we had a German version of the song "Lighthouse" playing alongside some photo's monitoring Timon's time with us Not sure if they were the first foreign languages in the service, but very soon we will experiences of Edgeside using Farsi which lam sure will be a fist. Finally let's remember whatever we do for these strangerswe do for Jesus.