Church to be Honored for Support of Refugees

Post a Comment » Written on June 20th, 2008     
Filed under: News
OMAHA, NE (June 20, 2008) – Celebration Covenant Church will be honored during a community event Saturday for its work in helping to resettle refugees from around the world.

The Southern Sudan Community Association will present the award during ceremonies that are part of World Refugee Day. Outstanding teachers, volunteers, and refugees also will be recognized.

Celebration Covenant Church has supported the refugee resettlement efforts through donations of warm clothing, special offerings, setting up apartments for newly arriving refugees, and mentoring refugees to learn language and life skills needed in a new environment.

The church has made it easier for members to help. Home groups seeking to furnish apartments can receive $500 grants. The church donates five percent of its Field of Dreams Building Fund, which has been set up to pay for its new building, to helping refugees. (The church donates another five percent of the fund to church planting.)

Most recently, the church has been helping resettle refugees from Burma (Myanmar), who had fled to Thailand before the cyclone hit that country.

A home group in which ministry assistant Joshua Beckner participates has sponsored two families over the past six weeks. A resettlement agency finds the apartment, but the refugees have no furnishings. “They have nothing. They come over with a small tote bag and that’s it,” he says.

Before the families arrive, the groups furnish the apartments largely with used items in good condition. Grant money pays for items that are not donated.

Beckner hosted a barbecue for the home group and refugees to help build relationships. Those relationships were being built even as they tried to communicate given little understanding of each other’s language. He adds, “There was a lot of nervous laughter.”

The Refugee Task Force of Omaha is sponsoring World Refuge Day, which is being held at Benson High School. The day also will include dance and music by a variety of ethnic groups, educational panels, a job fair, and presentations on the refugee situation in the city.

Accepting the award will be Will Turner, a Celebration member and board member of the Southern Sudan Community Association. Turner led the congregation in its involvement with refugees.

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