We are delighted to announce that Tim Burns has been appointed as leader of The Suitcase Project – a new diocesan outreach for asylum seekers and refugees which will have a hub in East Belfast linking into churches throughout the diocese.
The Suitcase Project will seek to welcome and support asylum seekers and refugees and demonstrate God’s love both practically and through relationship building.
Tim will be coming to us from Northern Ireland Alternatives, where he has been working as a restorative justice practitioner since December 2021. He is a familiar face in the diocese having served as our Diocesan Youth Development Officer for seven years, prior to which he spent eight years as a youth pastor in Swords Baptist Church, North Dublin.
Tim is married to Leah, and they have two boys, Seth aged 9 and Brodie aged 2. They worship in St John’s, Ballyclare, where they host a young leaders’ group every Friday night and Tim leads a home group.
Tim has a passion for caring for people in need and applied for this role as way of living out his faith by supporting asylum seekers and refugees. For him this is captured in the verses of Isaiah 58: 6 & 7:
This is the kind of fasting I want…
Remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry
and give shelter to the homeless;
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide yourself from relatives who need your help.
Tim said: “I am excited to be part of this new initiative. I am looking forward to building relationships with those in need and with organisations, connecting with churches across the diocese and establishing a welcoming Christian presence in East Belfast for asylum seekers and refugees.”
Please pray for Tim as he prepares to take up this new role on 1 October. He will be commissioned at a service in St John’s Orangefield on Sunday 8 October at 7.00pm.