To embrace refugees and immigrants in friendship and love.
Matthew 25:35 "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me."
In January 2017, Pastor Dan preached a sermon focusing on God's repeated call in the Bible for his people to welcome and help strangers, including refugees and immigrants in need. His message touched hearts in our congregation and an informal committee began to meet to explore how we at Our Savior's could respond. On Refugee Sunday in October, the congregation learned more about the needs of 21 million currently displaced people throughout the world.
Our committee has spent the last half-year exploring local needs and possible ways that we at Our Savior's can help refugees and immigrants who are now our neighbors. Among other learning activities, we met with Margaret Yapp from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS). She described their Circle of Welcome Program, which allows churches and other groups to support refugee families as they rebuild their lives and become positive contributors in our community.
Overall, this has been a year of learning and preparation. We have chosen "Welcoming All Neighbors Ministry" for our committee name. We have adopted the LIRS mission statement because it expresses our goal; 'Embracing refugees and immigrants in friendship and love.' We are excited about moving into action. We expect to learn more about how we can help our refugee and immigrant neighbors as we move into action. Here are some ministry opportunities we look forward to in 2018.
- We will provide short term financial support through Lutheran Refugee and Immigrant Service to help a refugee family in the Twin Cities area get established with a home, jobs and educational opportunities.
- We plan to volunteer as tutors or conversation partners with the Blaine/St. Francis North Metro Adult Basic Education English Language Learning classes.
- We have joined a direct action email list that informs us of specific donation or service needs of refugee families as they come up. This email list is available to anyone in our congregation. Members of our committee have already donated several needed items, including a TV and a lawn mower! Let us know if you want to join this email list.
- We will offer occasional hospitality gifts to refugee or immigrant groups in our neighborhood to let them know we welcome them as neighbors.
Be sure to watch for future giving and service opportunities to help refugee and immigrant neighbors. If you want to find out more about our ministry, contact Glenndy Ose or 763-434-6117 ext. 113.