We stand together on the threshold of an incredible milestone: 75 years of walking with immigrants and refugees to brighter tomorrows. With you as our partner, over those years, we’ve served over half a million people!
That’s 75 years of families reunited, children protected, safety regained, and lives rebuilt.
But this is just the beginning. In 2014, we’ll mark our decades of partnership with 75th anniversary celebrations that prepare us to create a future of just and welcoming communities. At the same time, we’ll celebrate something just as important: preserving the values of our faith and of America, which compel us to care for the sojourner among us, and to be a beacon of freedom, opportunity, and welcome.
Our partnership’s successes unite Lutherans of richly varied denominations and churches with the leadership of refugees and migrants, businesses, the U.S. government, foundations, and social service organizations. We share this historic moment with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and with our more than 60 incredible service partners across America. We’re proud and grateful to every person who’s making this journey with us, and to everyone who’s adding the vision and momentum that will take our work to a new level!
I hope you will join us in celebrating these 75 years of commitment, compassion, and successes. You can join in person by coming to the Walk of Courage Award Gala on June 19th, 2014 in Baltimore at which we’ll present the Walk of Courage Award honoring the strength and resilience of migrants and refugees. If you can’t be there in person, you can be there in spirit with a special anniversary gift of support. You can lead the way for your congregation or community group to participate in Refugee Sunday, June 22, 2014. A kit of resources will be available early 2014 for planning worship, discussion, and action. Sign up for insider anniversary updates today!
And I’m proud to share that in 2014 we’ll be hosting an advocacy event that has become important LIRS tradition—visits to members of Congress by migrant and refugee leaders for World Refugee Day, celebrated internationally on June 20th each year. This year, the delegation will meet for training on June 18th and meet with lawmakers on June 19th to champion migrant and refugee issues. It’s an honor for LIRS to lift up these inspiring leaders who generously give back to others walking the same journey for freedom.
We need you to be part of this celebration and creating the vision for the future! Join us as we take bold new steps to stand with and advocate for migrants and refugees and transform communities through the power of relationships. Look for volunteer opportunities throughout the year in which your encouragement can make a life-changing difference.
This is an amazing moment for our partnership. Who knew, when LIRS’s foundations were laid, that the passion for following God’s work of caring for the sojourner in our midst, work Lutherans first organized to do in 1939, would still shine clear and true?
Please join us in celebrating this 75th anniversary, as we renew our commitment to walking with immigrants and refugees towards a future where newcomers thrive in communities of welcome!
LIRS President and CEO