Hosting Refugee Sunday – A Small Effort With A Big Reward

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Our church family at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Millersville, MD wanted to share how simple and satisfying it was to partner with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) in hosting a Refugee Sunday.  More, we wanted to share how that simple act led to a big reward.

Our Outreach Ministry initiated Refugee Sunday by reviewing the information about immigrants and refugees on the LIRS website. Using it as a foundation, we authored weekly paragraphs for about five weeks, published in our service bulletins, to educate our church family about immigrants, refugees, and the challenges they face.

We appreciated the use of the free LIRS literature, which we made available to our church family in our lobby. And, we welcomed the free LIRS posters, which we hung in our lobby, on the bulletin board, and in our church hall.  Of course, we also used the offering envelopes LIRS provided and distributed them during service on our Refugee Sunday.

On the day of our Refugee Sunday, as over the past month, our Pastor, Dave Simpson, promoted the event and invited everyone to refreshments after service. In our church hall, we had home baked goods, coffee, and other refreshments for all to enjoy. We talked about immigrants and refugees. A donation box decorated with LIRS signage collected a noteworthy sum; and those proceeds were sent to LIRS to support their ongoing work with refugees and migrants.

An unexpected result of the event was that a number of our church family came together to form an Immigrant & Refugee Working Group. We contacted LIRS for information, and they provided a speaker (at no charge!) who came to our church to educate us further. We continued our learning by joining an LIRS webinar and by meeting with other churches who were successfully helping immigrants and refugees.

As a group, we then decided to seek a partnership with another church or organization to help an immigrant or refugee family. Unexpectedly, our Pastor was contacted with a request for help. A Syrian family had recently moved to our area; the parents and their children needed help with the English language. That English tutoring, and now math tutoring for the children, are ongoing by volunteers from our church, Christ Lutheran.

With the simple act of hosting a Refugee Sunday, and engaging with LIRS, we were inspired by the Holy Spirit to help a Syrian family … a truly big reward for all involved. We, at Christ Lutheran in Millersville, MD, welcome any questions about holding a Refugee Sunday. We hope our story inspires you and your church to start with a simple act … to host a Refugee Sunday.

This story is contributed by the church family at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Millersville, MD.

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