Solange Agnès Belluz D.Min.
The main purpose of this portfolio was to develop a cross-cultural congregational engagement framework that would facilitate greater participation of congregants in hospitality with newcomers and refugees at The Peoples Church in Toronto. A central principle that emerged was the need to shift our ministry perspective from doing things to people to doing things with people. The framework developed as a result of this research included eight key principle and four key components: Learn, Engage, Assess and Participate (LEAP).
Hospitality is about welcoming others and making them feel at home. As someone who came to Canada over 30 years ago as an international student, I am sensitive to the needs of newcomers and refugees and the role that congregants could play in creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for them. I am also a firm believer that leadership is influence and that, through cross-cultural transformational leadership, we could create an environment where congregants would be motivated to welcome well.
This research demonstrated that there is value in meeting the physical needs of newcomers and refugees. However, effective engagement with the migrants and displaced needs to go beyond food, housing, and education. The research highlighted the need to create spaces where they belong; where they could be anchored to; where they can recover the feeling of belonging that has been lost in migration.