I challenged myself to post a daily black and white photo to Instagram and Twitter to represent the #AdventWord word of the day. Here is Week 1:
Over the next 4-5 years, the United States expects to welcome tens of thousands of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), scene of some of the world’s worst ongoing violence and human rights abuses. According to UNHCR, approximately 430,000 refugees from the DRC have sought protection in neighboring countries, including Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. In addition, there are some 2.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) within the country itself.
Of the 5,155 refugees resettled last year by Episcopal Migration Ministries and its network of affiliate organizations, 420 were Congolese and that number is expected to grow in 2015.
How can your faith community support and advocate for the plight of Congolese refugees? How can your congregation prepare to welcome these new Americans into your community?
February 19 Educational Webinar
Please join Kurt Bonz, Program Manager for Episcopal Migration Ministries; Allison Duvall, Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Church Relations Manager; and Katie Conway, Policy Analyst for Immigration and Refugees in the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Office of Government Relations, in a church wide webinar on Thursday, February 19 at 7:00 pm EST.
Participation is via registration here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6141019095904459265
Allison, Katie and Kurt will: provide an overview of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), update the current status of Congolese refugees, and suggest what you can do in your community to continue to welcome Congolese refugees as they arrive in our country seeking safety, peace, and a chance to begin their lives again.
Questions are welcomed and encouraged and can be submitted via the webinar chat room or on social media using #ShareTheJourney.
The webinar content is ideal for Sunday forums, discussion groups, adult formation classes, youth groups, and formation classes. A discussion guide is available here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/documents/congolese_refugees_webinar_guide.pdf
On March 2, Frank and I will be among a group of thirteen traveling to Kenya and Rwanda as part of the #ShareTheJourney Pilgrimage.
According to the media release:
#ShareTheJourney is designed to raise awareness of ways in which the Missionary Society, through Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), works to facilitate refugee resettlement work throughout The Episcopal Church. The pilgrimage is funded through a Constable Fund grant awarded last year by the Episcopal Church Executive Council. The Constable Fund provides grants to fund mission initiatives that were not provided for within the budget of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society passed by the General Convention.
“Through the #ShareTheJourney pilgrimage, we are bringing awareness to the plight of Congolese refugees and the ministry of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in resettling refugees from Congo and other conflict areas,” explained Deborah Stein, EMM director. “Through real-time social media, our participants will serve as the eyes of the church as they witness conditions where refugees are currently living, and the responses we offer through resettlement.”
Through the #ShareTheJourney pilgrimage from March 2-13, stories of refugees and their resettlement in the United States will be highlighted through traditional and social media. During the pilgrimage, participants will share their experiences through blogs and posts here. [http://www.episcopalchurch.org/emm]
The pilgrims will travel to Nairobi, Kenya and Kigali, Rwanda. Among the planned visits are the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and the Gihembe Refugee Camp in Rwanda as well as operations supported by Church World Service’s Resettlement Support Center (RSC)-Africa, and the UN refugee agency UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
How can you participate?
Through #ShareTheJourney on Facebook or Twitter through @EMMRefugees and #ShareTheJourney.
Participate through interactions, retweets and posting a photo of yourself holding a hand-written sign indicating: #ShareTheJourney with @EMMRefugees.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is the refugee resettlement service of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. Each year this ministry works in partnership with its affiliate network, along with dioceses, faith communities and volunteers, to welcome refugees from conflict zones across the globe.
#ShareTheJourney as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society celebrates 75 years of resettling refugees in the United States. #ShareTheJourney is a multi-media effort to educate, form, and equip Episcopalians to engage in loving service with resettled refugees and to become prophetic witnesses and advocates on behalf of refugees, asylees, migrants, and displaced persons throughout the world.
Learn more EMM’s history and how to participate in local refugee settlement here. [http://www.episcopalmigrationministries.org]