Welcoming the Stranger – Print

Welcoming the Stranger: Signposts for Building Bridges and Making Peace.

By Nick Regnault

Practical advice for your church or community group about helping refugees & migrants settle into your neighbourhood 

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Print publication details

Published:  15 December 2019
Language: English
Words: 13,300
B/W text, 50pp 

NZ 9781988572239
US print-on-demand

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Book Description

Does your church or community group want to help refugees or migrants settle into your neighbourhood but you’re not sure how to start?

Nick Regnault shares the experiences of his community at South West Baptist Church in Christchurch who are doing just that: initially through a refugee sponsorship scheme, and then in response to the terror attacks that occurred on 15 March 2019. This hugely rewarding and sometimes challenging journey has been a discovery: about others and about themselves.

Nick distils four essential threads weaving through all these experiences. When woven together, he says, we can create places of welcoming and belonging for others and for ourselves, for the newcomer and for the established.

The four threads are:

  1. Being clear about our intentions and values in welcoming others.
  2. Working with other people to together extend many hands of friendship.
  3. Thinking about the places that we live and move about in differently: as places of rich potential for making connections and creating belonging.
  4. Knowing about yourself and others.

Nick and his community are very clear that this is not about converting people to Christianity. It is about ordinary people reaching out hands of friendship towards each other – to build bridges and to make peace.

Praise for Welcoming the Stranger

 “In this book Nick humbly reflects on the experience of befriending people of different cultures and beliefs, and what it has meant for South West Baptist to journey with them through their pain and grief. I encourage you to read this short book and to reflect on what God is saying about reaching out and building bonds of friendship with the people He has placed around you.” Ian McInnes, CEO Tearfund

“There is wise counsel here. Temper the urge to jump into the detail and practicalities, before committing to some hard conversations around motives and values, honesty around personal bias and cultural stereotypes. The signposts offered in this book provide a valuable springboard for those seeking to support migrants and refugees, and wanting to build resilient, caring communities. This needs to be a journey for the long haul, not a knee jerk reaction or short-term emotional response. But in choosing to commit to journey together with others we will gain so much more than we ever give.” Ken Shelley – Te Raranga

About the Author

Nick Regnault is the Resettlement Coordinator for South West Baptist Church. His church was one of four approved community sponsors in the pilot Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship programme. He co-ordinates the many volunteers that have contributed to welcoming former refugee families into Christchurch.

Since mid-2017 he has been working with local and global organisations and passionate individuals to engage with the government and establish a permanent programme for communities to welcome refugees into Aotearoa New Zealand.

Thanks to the generosity of the Lang Centre for Civic and Social Responsibility all profits from the sale of this book will be used for that work.

Table of Contents

  • Endorsement from Tearfund
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword by Te Raranga
  • Introduction
  • The South West Baptist Church Journey
    • Neighbourhood Community
    • Refugee Sponsorship
    • The March 15 Terror Attacks
    • Common Threads
  • Thread 1: Foundational Values
    • Authenticity
    • Humility
    • Empowerment
    • Signposts
  • Thread 2: Extend the Hand of Friendship Together
    • Signposts
  • Thread 3: Think Differently About Place
    • Signposts
  • Thread 4: Knowledge
    • Signposts
  • When Threads Unravel
    • Biases and expectations
    • Friendship and Support
    • Money
    • Faith conversations
    • Navigating Service Providers
    • Signposts
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • About the Author


refugee, refugee resettlement, Christian leadership, Christian pastoral activities, immigration, neighbours, friendship, religious life and practice, Islamic life and practise, Christian life and practice, Christchurch, New Zealand, Christian ministry


  • JFFN – Migration, immigration and emigration
  • JFFD – Refugees and political asylum
  • HRCX1 – Christian leaders and leadership
  • HRCX4 – Christian ministry and pastoral activity
  • HRCX6 – Christian social thought and activity
  • JF – Society and culture: general…
  • HRLM – Religious life and practice…
  • HRHP – Islamic life and practice
  • HRCV – Christian life and practice…


  • SOC007000 – SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration
  • SOC066000 – SOCIAL SCIENCE / Refugees
  • REL108030 – RELIGION / Christian Living / Leadership & Mentoring
  • REL012110 – RELIGION / Christian Living / Social Issues
  • REL074000 – RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources
  • REL073000 – RELIGION / Christianity / Baptist
  • REL037030 – RELIGION / Islam / Rituals & Practice
  • REL071000 – RELIGION / Leadership