This week, I am presenting a workshop entitled “We are ALL Refugees” at a conference for youth leaders. This post is full of info for those who are new to this journey – and a great summary for those who’ve been following all year!
Today, as the United States was focusing on welcoming a new President into the White House, I am focused on welcoming new neighbors into my own neighborhood. Since 1939, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has worked with the US government to welcome immigrants and refugees to our nation, and they will continue to do so this year and into the future. I get to work with LIRS’ Michigan Partner, Samaritas, and my county’s newest helping organization, Washtenaw Refugee Welcome on a regular basis. I also get to travel around the world and see how members of the Lutheran World Federation are helping 1.3 million of the world’s refugees.
Today, I share.
I share with friends, and colleagues, and strangers, and fellow ministers about how we can make a difference, right here, right now, and how we can invest in positive differences for the future, and all over the world.
I do what I do because God has called me to serve refugees, and in order to serve I must first speak; I speak out for those who are silent, and I speak out to empower those who can also serve.
As Christians, we are called to share the Gospel in words and actions with everyone, including refugees and immigrants.
As Reformation Christians, we are empowered to participate with God’s ongoing action in the world, including amongst immigrants and refugees.
As Christian faith Leaders, we are teaching people of all ages how to use God’s truth to interpret the news, including the refugee and immigrant crises.
If you haven’t attended one of my workshops, please watch my 15 minute summary of the workshop I lead, which summarizes refugee resettlement in the US and the Christian response:
So, since you’re interested, and now you know more, how can you make a difference?
- Study the Bible
The Bible is full of stories of displaced people, and commands to help them. Check out this list of Biblical Refguees and this list of Bible verses about refugees. Learn these stories yourself, but also ensure that your house of worship is including these topics as well.
Pray for the refugees, for the end of war, for those who are helping, and for those who aren’t sure how to help. Ask your church leaders to share this prayer for refugees during worship, and to include refugees on the prayer list every week.
3. Learn More
Read something from this great list of books about refugees . Watch one of these short videos about the refugee crisis. Get a group together to watch the movie After Spring, about the Syrian conflict.
4. Tell Others
Share facts. Share links. Share stories. Share compassion. I deputize you all to be refugee advocates in your communities. Sign up here for more updates, and mythbuster images to share in your networks.
5. Donate and Volunteer
Sign up with LIRS, your local refugee placement agency, your church, or another organization linked above. If you want more ideas, I can help you find them!