Refugee Sponsorship in the United States for United Methodist
For the last
15 years, refugees admitted to the United States have had to be
resettled within a specified radius of a resettlement office of one
of the major resettlement agencies. The United Methodist Committee
on Relief participates in the Church World Service Immigration and
Refugee Program (CWS IRP). A local United Methodist church wishing
to sponsor a refugee family through UMCOR must be within a 100 mile
radius of a CWS local affiliate office. There are 44 of these
offices which provide essential services-- training for sponsors,
referrals and counsel for refugees and sponsors. However many
annual conferences and parts of annual conferences are outside
Assisting refugees to begin a new life in the
United States can be rewarding for all involved. The refugees
benefit immeasurably from the friendship, assistance and entry into
the community provided by church members. Pastors have attested to
the spiritual renewal and a new energy for mission that sponsoring
a refugee family has brought to their congregation.
Your church can be involved:
- Contact UMCOR to be put on the mailing
list to receive UMCOR's periodic Refugee Ministries
Update and/or CWS Monday Newsletter. The Update includes
advocacy needs and instructions for response.
- Encourage your church to hold the One
Great Hour of Sharing Offering on the fourth Sunday in March.
This--not general apportionments-- provides basic support for the
refugee, hunger and emergency response ministries of UMCOR.
- Review the listing of UMCOR Refugee Advance Specials and
consider supporting one of these.
- Plan a Sunday School class on today's sojourners--
refugees and immigrants.
- Contact your nearest affiliate office and organize health kits,
school supply bags, household welcome baskets for arriving
Consider support or sponsorship of a refugee family.
- If your church is within 100 miles of a
CWS IRP affiliate office, contact UMCOR
and the local refugee office and ask for information about the
refugee program. Both UMCOR and the affiliate office will respond.
You can also ask staff of the local affiliate to make a
presentation on refugee ministry at your church.
- If your church is outside the resettlement area of a CWS
affiliate office, contact UMCOR for information on another
agency's resettlement office which is in your area.
- To support refugee resettlement ministries, give to Advance
#982540, "Global Refugee Response."
Photo: These young men, part of
a a group known as the "Lost Boys of the Sudan" arrived
on December 4, 2000 in Syracuse, N.Y., where they were welcomed by
two United Methodist Churches. Read their story.