We are off and running with our refugee response ministry. Thank you to all who attended the luncheon for the International Rescue Committee (IRC)! A special note of thanks to Marty Rothfelder for organizing it. In total, we collected $8,766 for IRC. Thank you as well to all who made generous donations during our plate collections for MADRE and the work of OWFI in northern Iraq with Yazidi women and children. A very generous thank you to Gary Nissenbaum, Suzanne Pallak, Erik Solberg, Carol Ulmer and Margaret Babcock. It is an incredible testimony to the power of small groups that the vision and call for support of the Yazidi came from a Spirit in Practice, SiP group! In total, we were able to raise $3,1130.
Your generosity will mean new mobile units that will be able to find survivors rapidly and provide crisis response including medical and psychological care. We are just embarking upon a refugee response ministry after receiving approval from the Social Justice Team at their February meeting. The proposal for a refugee response ministry is grounded in our Unitarian Universalist faith, and most prominently, in the symbol of the chalice. The origin of the chalice is taken from the work of Reverend Waitstill Sharp and his social-worker spouse, Martha. In their efforts to help refugees escaping Nazi persecution, the Unitarian Service Committee (and the Sharps) utilized the chalice to symbolize safe passage and sanctuary to refugees.
Our own congregation has at its core a mission statement to be radically inclusive. This proposal seeks to actualize the promise made in that statement. The vision for a refugee response ministry would be a gradual three phase progression that deepens our understanding of refugees in the United States and activates our resources to live into the promise of radical inclusion. Furthermore, the ministry plan seeks to balance direct service, financial support and advocacy while providing for full congregational engagement. Phase One includes a service on March 5 learning about refugees in New Jersey and the shifting laws in our country. We will be joined by the Executive Director of Refugee Congress, Beni de Dieu Luzau who is flying in from D.C. We will have a lunch at 1:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall to learn more from Beni about refugees in the United States and how we can be supportive as a congregation. Want to join the team? Email Rev. Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org.