I was excited this week to see a reaffirmation of the crucial role of churches in building social connections for immigrants. In fact, it was something I was able to see first-hand, as over 40 Lutheran leaders met in Miami to strengthen ties among themselves and with participants in the National Immigrant Integration Conference (Miami NIIC 6).
LIRS convened the gathering, which brought together Lutheran leaders from across America in conjunction with the Nov. 17-19 Miami NIIC 6.
The meeting was an incredible opportunity to lift up churches’ vital work of welcoming migrants, and especially to reaffirm their crucial role in building social connections among new Americans and with members of their new home communities.
As LIRS approaches its 75th anniversary in 2014, we were honored to bring together that cross-section of Lutheran leaders from churches and congregations from across the United States. More importantly, we were grateful for the opportunity to share their valuable experiences with welcoming migrants and refugees.
The meeting and Miami NIIC 6 created the opportunity for everyone involved to become better connected to each other, whether they were Lutheran participants, policymakers, practitioners, refugee resettlement professionals, elected officials, funders, or businesspeople.
The LIRS convening involved Lutheran leaders in conversations on topics including:
- Investing in the development of expertise within church partner networks and jointly exploring the role congregations can play in connecting migrants and refugees to communities
- Uncovering the strengths, barriers, and emerging opportunities for people of faith to be actively engaged in the integration journeys of newcomers
- Developing a shared understanding of ways in which participants can expand the circle of congregations invested in the long-term integration of newcomers in the community
Once again, I want to thank everyone who came to Miami. Your presence was key to knitting together an even more powerful network to welcome migrants and refugees to our land!