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Christian Workers having to Pack their Bags

See foot of this message (and "Comments" thread) for updates

TravellersIn October 2008 new legislation governing immigrants, work permits and residency in EU countries appeared suddenly, catching many unawares; and is now is having a direct and sudden impact on Christian ministries in the Highlands and beyond.

This development which is variously resulting in Christians from North America being debarred entry to the UK the prospect of those already living and working in Scotland having to go home.

So far, in the Highlands, the Luis Palau Association has been affected by being unable to have a worker from America based in Inverness in the planning stages in advance of the June Festival outreach.

Chris and Pattie Hyslop
Chris and PatriciaMeanwhile Chris Hyslop who returned with his wife Pattie to the Highlands in December 2007 to take up a position with Highlands and Islands Youth for Christ are having to pack up and return to their native Canada. Chris's serves as a Missional Church Development Worker. He and his wife and HIYFC colleagues were taken completely by surprise by this new legislation and when Pattie started to make enquiries about how it would affect the couple she discovered that her research put her in a position of knowing more about the new rules than those civil servants who were supposed to be implementing them. She has learned that Youth for Christ is not classed as a religious organisation, and because it is a limited company it falls under the scope of the new arrangements for employing ‘foreign’ (non-EU) workers.

Leo and Cheryl Rose
Leo and Sharon Rose Another Christian leader who has been working sacrificially in the Highlands for the past five years is Leo Rose who, with the indispensable support of his wife Cheryl, has set up and is now leading Inverness Bible Fellowship. The couple are now facing the prospect of having to return to the US if a ‘local’ worker (UK or EU citizen) can be found to take up the pastoral leadership role. As voluntary work is now subject to the same legal restrictions as paid workers, Leo is having to advertise the ‘vacancy’ and, because the work is voluntary, the employment agencies will not help with the work of publicising the position.
(Click here to find the job specification for Leo’s present position.)

Please pray for all these folks who have brought their gifts and talents to the work of building the Kingdom in the Highlands and Islands and are facing the prospect of having to leave.

The Hyslops and the Roses are content to leave it all in the Lord’s hands and that is indeed where these things rightfully lie. However, it is a change in the ‘operating environment’ and a new situation of which we all need to be aware. These folks have brought themselves and God's giftings in them to the Christian community in the north of Scotland; and they are appreciated.


Footnote: Highlands and Islands Youth for Christ are currently advertising for a Centre Director. <Click here> for details.

Update 17 March 2009

Leo Rose reports:

After spending 200+ hours preparing our visa applications to extend our leave to remain in the UK, we have sent them off to the Home Office. The new regulations as of Nov/2008 now require a certificate of sponsorship issued by a sponsor organisation pre-registered and approved by the Home Office Sponsor Management Unit. Additionally the Home Office now utilise a points based system. Therefore, without a certificate of sponsorship and a high score awarded by the Home Office via the points based system, it would be impossible for us to remain.
We did receive a certificate of sponsorship through Calvary Chapel Bible College York England. This bible college had been seeking and recently obtained accreditation through the UK educational system. An added benefit of this accreditation is that the college was given sponsorship status earlier this year. Therefore, they were able to offer a certificate of sponsorship to us. As far as the remaining points and how we score on the points based system, as well as the final decision whether we will be permitted to remain, this is in the hands of the Home office. We are told it will be 4-6 weeks before we should expect a decision regarding our visa applications.
Ultimately we are still trusting in the Lord. Though it is true because of the new regulations we have seen some missionaries, Christians sent home or even blocked from entering the country, we are trusting that the Lord can go before us and make a way for us to stay, should this be His will. Technically our visas are now expired [15-March-09]. The law allows us to stay now that we have applied for extended leave to remain. So for now we wait and trust Lord which is always our standard operating procedure, amen?
As far as the multiple letters which citizens had written to MPs on our behalf, no action was ever taken to simply extend our visas for 30-60 days which would have permitted to us to meet the 5-year requirement and we would have then qualified to apply for settlement/permanent residency.
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1

Christians Together, 05/03/2009

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Peter Carr 27/03/2009 07:27
Leo said, "The main difficulty for us is that unpaid volunteers [such as oursleves] are now treated as paid workers. Therefore, we fall under the same requirements. Volunteers who receiving 100% of their funding from outside the UK should not be treated as paid workers. We receive 100% of our funding from America."

Seems that the Christian organisations caught in the net may have to rethink how they 'do' things!
John Parker (Guest) 27/03/2009 09:07
Re-ordering our methodologies must indeed by a continual process as these need to "work" in a changing envirornment (legal, political, social, economic).

However we still (supposedly) live in a democracy based (originally at least) on Godly principles of justice etc.

And there will be times where we need to take a stand.

However surely the primary focus and opportunity of this thread should be to give spiritual support to our brothers and sisters who are struggling, and we can have a debate on the principles of our responses to changes elsewhere?
Peter Carr 27/03/2009 12:07
Sorry, I thought it was for discussion/debate as well.
Editor 27/03/2009 16:03
It's not always easy to know how these threads develop - or should develop.
What I thinking about is whether (when the situation or topic is not clear) is to give a "suggestion" what the main issue might be (but if there is a consensus that the issue/discussion is something else, then move to that - and perhaps to another section of the site more suited to the question in hand).

The point Peter raises about "re-thinking" how we do things is a good one. And there is also the issue which crops up from time to time about when (if ever) it becomes acceptable (under God) to break man's laws in order to uphold those of God.

But this debate would best be done elsewhere.
Rosemary Cameron 27/03/2009 21:08
I think that the point made by Leo Rose about how he (and others like him) are funded from the US, and therefore bringing money into this country, is a good one to stress when writing to your MP about this issue. I also think that the lack of distinction between unpaid volunteers and paid workers is ridiculous! I've read the job spec for Leo's position - no-one from the UK is going to take up that position on those terms! I do hope that Leo and Cheryl are able to stay. The contribution guys like these make to our country is valuable.
Leo Rose (Guest) 16/04/2009 14:32
Cheryl and I have been successfully granted an extension of our visas to remain here in the UK for another 2 years through 9-April-2011.

Thank you for your prayers concerning this matter.

All the love of Jesus,

Leo & Cheryl Rose
Inverness Bible Fellowship – A Calvary Chapel Church
Peter Carr 20/04/2009 07:37
Answered prayer and good news for those concerened, however I still stand by my original comment, and even more so now that the whole thing has been brought to light!!

"Any lessons here on how we do 'church'? Seems that the Christian organisations caught in the net may have to rethink how they 'do' things!"
Donald Boyd 20/04/2009 21:04
I'm pleased to hear your news, Leo.
Leo Rose (Guest) 12/11/2009 15:48
Thank you for your prayers. In spite of the new regulations, the Lord has gone before us and is granting us the ability to remain in Inverness.

We are gald to be wherever the Lord leads us.

As far as "doing church", we simply believe we "are the church". As far as what we plan to do as the church, Acts 2:42 - Study and preach/teach the Word of God/bible, pray, fellowship with other believers, and remember Jesus in communion. Yeah, that ought to cover it.

We'll leave the extra bits for others, as this tends to occupy most of our time. :)

It's all about Jesus!
Editor 12/11/2009 16:06
Thanks for the update Leo. And posting your news is a great way of (a) extending your thanks (as you have done) and (b) keeping us all informed.
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