Bulletin Insert: Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (C)

Welcoming Week and Episcopal Migration Ministries

IMG_1005On any given day, in a number of American communities, in local non-profit organizations large and small, smiles and laughter can be heard in classrooms where newcomers practice English conversation.

“Good morning, how are you?”  I am fine, and you?” “I am well. It is a nice day.”

Down another hall, you might visit an office, where a case worker meets with a young family as they balance their monthly budget. There is cause for celebration: the father and mother have not only found work and good childcare, but their monthly income exceeds their expenses.

Outside in the parking lot, colors and shapes and textures fly about amid a gathering of women, who sit, talking and laughing, as they weave. American weavers alongside Bhutanese weavers. Volunteers join in the fun, ‘ooo-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ at the creations of hats, and gloves, and scarves. As each piece is finished, the volunteers tag it with a price. This colorful effort is a microenterprise, providing the Bhutanese women a source of income and a community of friends.

This is the work of welcome, the ministry of refugee resettlement. Episcopal Migration Ministries, the refugee resettlement service of The Episcopal Church, works in partnership with 30 local affiliate organizations, who in turn work with countless community partners, volunteers, and congregations, to welcome refugees to their communities as neighbors and new Americans.

September 16-25 is national Welcoming Week, a time for all Americans to celebrate with our immigrant and refugee neighbors the spirit, determination, grit, and the contributions they bring to our communities. Join in one of hundreds of Welcoming Week events being hosted across the country, or reach out to your nearest refugee resettlement office to ask how you can be part of the work of welcome.

See yourself in that English classroom, encouraging students as they improve their conversation skills. See yourself teaching a financial literacy class, assisting your new neighbors as they learn to open a bank account, balance their checkbook, and pay their bills. Or, find yourself outdoors in the crisp fall air, joining in the celebration of a weaving circle.

Welcoming Week is a time for all of us to celebrate how each of us, born in this country or new immigrants pursuing the American dream, contributes to weaving the beautiful tapestry that is America.

Happy Welcoming Week!

For more information about Episcopal Migration Ministries, contact Allison Duvall, Manager for Church Relations and Engagement, aduvall@episcopalchurch.org, 212-716-6027.

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