United Church of Christ

Why We Welcome by Todd

Why we Welcome is a series of stories we are releasing during advent. Our first story is from Todd T.

77179432_3078586625491202_7713361251836887040_n.jpgGrace Immanuel United Church of Christ is a welcoming sort of place, so it’s no surprise the congregation extends its welcome worldwide with a 20-year history of co-sponsoring refugee families with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. It’s a gratifying, hands-on way to practice Christian principles — with the bonus of making new friends that will no doubt broaden your world view.

Welcoming refugees, especially with language and cultural barriers, can certainly be outside your comfort zone. But forging through those fears of the unknown is worth it when you make connections to people who have often fled war, violence and the difficulties of refugee camps. Helping refugees clear the hurdles and challenges of a new country — from things as difficult as government bureaucracy to something as simple as instructing them about mass transit — is always a rewarding experience.

Assisting the refugee program is something literally everyone in the congregation can help with. From gathering items to furnish homes to outfitting a new kitchen to donating money to hauling furniture to providing a welcoming smile at the airport, our congregation rallies around each co-sponsorship with everyone playing a role. To see everyone pull in the same direction is a faith-building and relationship-building exercise that strengthens the church every time.

Welcoming refugees, especially with language and cultural barriers, can certainly be outside your comfort zone. But forging through those fears of the unknown is worth it when you make connections to people who have often fled war, violence and the difficulties of refugee camps. Helping refugees clear the hurdles and challenges of a new country — from things as difficult as government bureaucracy to something as simple as instructing them about mass transit — is always a rewarding experience.


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