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July 2, 2017: Three-Parish Refugee Partnership Update
Earlier this year, All Souls formed a partnership with two Georgetown Episcopal churches, St. John’s and Christ Church, to help support a newly-arrived refugee family during their first months in the U.S. ...

by Steve Merrill & Embry Howell

Earlier this year, All Souls formed a partnership with two Georgetown Episcopal churches, St. John’s and Christ Church, to help support a newly-arrived refugee family during their first months in the U.S. 

This parish effort grew out of our shared feelings of distress about the Syrian refugee crisis. Steve Merill attended a Lutheran Social Services (LSS) meeting about their refugee resettlement program and came away convinced that he’d found a new mission project for All Souls. We began seeking out churches to partner with, and though it took some time, we know the Holy Spirit was with us along the way. 

To date, about 40 All Souls parishioners have attended at least one organizational meeting, 25 have gone through LSS’s brief training, and more than a dozen have begun the background checks required for certain volunteer roles. 10 cross-parish committees will coordinate various activities, from furnishing the family’s home to identifying potential jobs to getting children enrolled in local schools. One committee that is especially in need is the transportation team, which will provide rides so the family members can get to job interviews, doctors’ appointments, and so on. 

We are now waiting to be assigned a family, which may happen by the end of the summer. The family is likely to be from Afghanistan, and will probably live in a nearby Maryland suburb, but there is much we won’t know until they actually arrive. Meanwhile, there is a just-arrived refugee family in the LSS program who could use a little extra support. The Haydaris are an Afghan–Iranian couple with 2 beautiful young daughters, ages 6 and almost 3. There is a marked box to receive contributions for them in our undercroft—requested items include rice, beans or lentils, breakfast cereal, baking ingredients (Mom is a bread baker), spices, canned tomatoes, canned tuna, olive oil or other cooking oil, and size 5 diapers. 

If you are interested in volunteering, simply talk to either of us about what time or skills you can offer. Please keep our volunteers, partner parishes, and the family we will eventually serve in your prayers.

Last Published: July 19, 2017 8:37 AM
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