When All Saints Church agreed to partner with the Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service (IRIS) as part of the resettlement team for a family of Syrian Refugees we could never have guessed that “our” family would not only arrive weeks ahead of schedule but also in the vortex of controversy following the brutal attacks in Beirut and Paris. But arrive they did — a family of four with two sons (5 & 3) and a baby on the way — on Thursday, November 12.
Under the able leadership of our Host Congregation Team co-chairs Susan Long and Sabine Freij our welcome team leapt into action and this beautiful family arrived from Syria — via a Jordanian refugee camp — to a furnished apartment and volunteers ready to work with IRIS to get them settled and connected toward the goal of self-sufficiency.
From the IRIS website:
As the U.S. State Department notes on its website, “The United States is proud of its history of welcoming immigrants and refugees. The U.S. refugee resettlement program reflects the United States’ highest values and aspirations to compassion, generosity and leadership. Since 1975, Americans have welcomed over 3 million refugees from all over the world. Refugees have built new lives, homes and communities in towns and cities in all 50 states.”
Since it was first established in 2005, IRIS has helped nearly 7,000 refugees persecuted on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group find hope, hospitality, and a safe haven in the Los Angeles. Quite simply, we #ShareTheJourney with refugees. When refugees arrive in the United States, their journeys are not over. Their journeys of flight have ended, but a journey of new beginnings has just begun.
We are honored to be part of the new beginning of resettlement for this family here in the San Gabriel Valley. In the days and weeks ahead we will have more information to share on the resettlement process and how we can help — in partnership with IRIS — to meet the needs that will emerge.
How can you help now?
- While we are not accepting cash or “stuff” tax deductible donations can be made through IRIS and designated for this family.
- Another option are gift cards for the family (Target; Grocery Stores; etc.) which can be sent to Juliana Serrano — our Director of Peace & Justice — here at All Saints.
- Keep them in your prayers as we pray for all those in need and transition during this global migration crisis.
- And give thanks for the abundant generosity of those who have already reached out with arms of welcome to these precious and vulnerable members of our own human family with the gift of hope for a new future.
Living out God’s values of love, justice and compassion is part of what it means to be a member of All Saints Church — and the story of partnering in the resettlement of one Syrian Refugee family is just one of the ways we live out those values. As Ed Bacon said in his November 15th sermon:
“We will not allow these terrorist acts to make us less human or compassionate because that is terrorism’s goal: to turn us all into terrorists. Instead we will overcome the narrative of nihilism with respect for the dignity of every single human being. And we will gather to be reminded not to forget that we belong to each other.”
We all belong to each other. And making God’s love tangible to this Syrian family gives us the gift of living out that truth in our broken world.
For more information contact Juliana Serrano at 626.583.2731 or firstname.lastname@example.org