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About The Ask Club

About The Ecumenical Centre

The Ecumenical Centre was built during the early 1970’s by the Church of England, Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches as a place where the four denominations could hold their services and provide a space for local community activities.

The Ecumenical Centre Skelmersdale

About The Ask Club

The Ask Club opened in July 2021. It is a safe space for people seeking asylum and refugees living in Skelmersdale.

Leviticus 19:34 “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.

Although our motivation to help those in need is powered by a desire to share Christian love and charity, The Ask Club is not in the business of ‘conversion’ and ‘saving souls’. Rather, we seek to offer a safe space for people to visit, and practical help if asked.

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

We can neither change political structures nor policies. In a political era that encourages a harsh environment for people seeking asylum and safe refuge we can try to help treat the acute, damaging, side effects of harsh treatment e.g. hunger, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness.

Why help these people?

Primarily, because the teaching in the Bible commends us to do so. Most of us know the Bible story of the Good Samaritan, which was told as an answer Jesus gave in response to the question who is our neighbour? The Good Samaritan was the foreigner who helped the stranger in need. Well, we might start out as strangers helping foreigners but we hope to become friends as well.

Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Not everyone though is motivated by adhering to Christian values.

Like the Manic Street Preachers song says: “If you tolerate this, your children will be next”.

If you let the person seeking asylum starve and be abused, who will protect you when the government comes after you next?

History tells us that we must stand up and protect the human rights of people who are unpopular with the state. Martin Niemöller was a German, Lutheran pastor during the Nazi period. He wrote a poem:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

What treatment can a visitor to the Ask Club expect?

I hope we give every visitor a warm, friendly welcome.

Are you trying to convert people seeking asylum to Christianity?

Echoing something Pope Francis said: the mission off the Ask Club is not to convert our neighbours but to live in brotherhood with other faiths.

If you are a Christian and you want a Bible, we will give you a Bible.

However, if you are a Muslim and you want a Quran, prayer mat and or prayer beads, then we will endeavour to give you those things too.

If you have no religious faith, then we will happily make you a cup of tea and talk about the football (I am kidding, I know nothing about football, but I do try and make sure we have a stock of teas and coffees that will suit an African, Arab, Kurdish, or Persian taste palate)

Matthew 25: 31-40. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

We give our visitors health information, help them access health services, receive information about their legal rights and provide signposting to qualified legal advisors.

Living in poverty means eating the food you want to eat is an expensive luxury.  We do what we can to supplement our visitor’s diets.  We direct visitors to local charitable partners, including both Trussell Trust and independent food banks.

Later this year, our kitchen and cafe will re-open after an extensive refit and refurbishment.

We have a charity shop on the premises where visitors can either buy or get clothing, footwear, and toiletries.

Further, going through the asylum process can lay waste to a person’s mental health.  The excessive wait, with no stated timeline, creates anxiety and depression for many claimants.  We can help our visitors navigate the myriad of NHS services and access mental health support.

We are planning now to add further activities later on during the year: activities to stimulate one’s mind and teach old hands new skills.

Visitors can choose to sit and chat, relax and play board games, but always, we hope, surrounded by friendly faces.

The Ask Club is a safe space for you.  Please come and visit.  We are open every Monday afternoon from 12pm to 4pm (Covid-19 shutdowns permitting).

The Skelmersdale Ecumenical Centre is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Charity Number 1184507