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Dec 07, 2015 | Judy Winn

St. Andrew’s, Bryan Partners With IMGH in Refugee Resettlement

Moved by the recent worldwide refugee crisis, St. Andrew’s, Bryan, wanted to find a way to help. In the early 1980s, the church had sponsored a refugee family from Poland and hoped to repeat the experience. To help navigate new laws on refugee resettlement, the church partnered with Ali Al Sudani, Director of Resettlement Ministries with Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, the closest approved resettlement agency in the area.

 

Out of every 1,000 refugees the United Nations resettles, more than 700 come to the U.S. after an 18- to 24-month period of vetting and processing, and 75 of those 700 find their way to Texas, according to U.S. State Department numbers. More of those will come to the Houston area than to anywhere else in Texas. In fact, Houston accepts more refugees for resettlement than any other American city.

 

Working with Interfaith Ministries, St. Andrew’s devised a plan to participate in this important work. IMGH provided a list of furniture and household goods used to furnish a two-bedroom apartment, which prompted St. Andrew’s to became a “major donor” by supplying all that is needed for one family.

 

The church launched its Refugee Project on the first Sunday of November with a presentation about the project. Parish members began to sign up to bring various items, and the project spread to friends and neighbors as well.

 

The Rev. Deacon Linda Shelton, diocesan liaison for refugee resettlement, talked to the church about the great need to reach out to families who flee violence and oppression and seek safe places to live. The Rev. Daryl Hay, rector at St. Andrew’s, reminded the church that scripture calls us all to welcome the stranger and care for those in need.

 

By the end of November, the Refugee Project collected everything needed, plus $300 in gift cards. One of the men who came to help load the donation truck from IMGH had arrived from Cuba just one week earlier and was thrilled to help other newly arrived families.

 

Along with the truck-full of household goods, the church sent a letter welcoming the family to the U.S. and wishing them God’s blessings in their new home.

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