Two new Faith in Action Volunteers join the Columbans

The Columbans in Britain are pleased to welcome Juliette Bone and Tobi Oyedele, who have joined the region as Faith in Action Volunteers and have recently finished an exciting five week induction programme.

Under the supervision of Justice and Peace Worker James Trewby and Interreligious Dialogue Co-ordinator Mauricio Silva, the two new Faith in Action Volunteers will spend a year with the Columbans  exploring their faith through active participation in various outreach initiatives and programmes in and around Birmingham that offer support to marginalised, disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

Juliette Bone studied French and Italian at Warwick University. After graduating with a degree in French with Italian, she taught in Pau, France for 12 months before enrolling on CAFOD’s ‘Step into the gap’ programme. As part of this programme Juliette volunteered with the Youth Ministry team based at the Emmaus Youth Village in the North East. Whilst there she enjoyed assisting her local parish refugee support programme, which fuelled her desire to support those seeking sanctuary.

Following this, Juliette spent two years as a Retreat Coordinator at St. Cassians in Kintbury, a Lasallian retreat centre offering residential opportunities for schools, colleges, and parish groups to explore their faith alongside the Lasallian community.

It was through a social justice training session facilitated by James Trewby that Juliette first became aware of the Columbans and their work to support refugees and asylum seekers. She is pleased to have the opportunity to explore the many ways in which the Columbans are helping to integrate these marginalised communities.

Juliette explains “I am thrilled to be working with the Columbans. This role brings together my teaching and youth experience with my passion for social justice and will give me a greater awareness of the current situation for asylum seekers and refugees both in Britain and around the world.” She adds, “I’m interested in finding out more about the Anti-Refugee Bill and how this will impact vulnerable people who desperately need protection from the UK Government should it be passed into law.”

Joining Juliette on this year long journey of discovery is Tobi Oyedele. Tobi studied Sociology at Kingston University, graduating 2020, during the pandemic. Through a series of different modules, she acquired a greater understanding of rural urban migration and environmental migration which deepened her desire to understand more about the process of gaining asylum in Britain. Tobi applied for CAFOD’s ‘Young Leaders Programme’, designed to equip young people with an understanding of global social justice and empowering them to become aspiring leaders by reflecting on their responsibility towards others and the Mother Earth.

Similarly to Juliette, Tobi was also accepted onto the ‘Step into the Gap’ programme run by CAFOD. Tobi heard of the Columbans through a Festival of Encounter programme organised by the Columbans alongside Stories of Hope and Home. She heard about the volunteer role through a previous Faith in Action Volunteer and decided to find out more. She liked the idea of being able to assist those coming to Britain in search of asylum whilst having the opportunity to explore the work being done in Birmingham to create positive dialogue between people of different faiths.

When asked what she is most looking forward to, Tobi explains “I’m looking forward to discerning my faith and finding out more about the society of St. Columban and local Inter-Religious Dialogue (IRD) efforts in and around Birmingham.” She adds, “I’m excited to be working with Columban supported projects such as Restore, Hope Garden and Fatima House and hope to bring to these some of my creative ideas and practical skills in a way that assists these communities.”

Both Juliette and Tobi recently accompanied James Trewby to Glasgow for the COP26 where they supported the broadcasting of a 24 hour prayer vigil titled ’24 Hours for the Climate’, which encouraged people of faith around the world to pray for successful talks and bring the voiceless to the COP26 negotiations.

For more information about becoming a Faith in Action Volunteer with the Columbans in Britain, or to register your interest in this exciting programme, please email invitationtomission@columbans.co.uk.

Faith in Action Volunteers

Meet this year's Faith in Action Volunteers Juliette and Tobi.

24 Hours for the Climate

Read James' article about the COP26 prayer vigil '24 Hours for the Climate'

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