Church Partners to Help Refugees Transition to U.S.

Post a Comment » Written on October 14th, 2008     
Filed under: News
SAN JOSE, CA (October 14, 2008) – New Life Covenant Church has helped form Refugee Partnership Outreach to assist the more than 200 “free case” refugees – those without local support from friends or family – that enter Santa Clara County each year.

The church has formed the partnership with Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, and a local Nepali pastor.

The Commissioner for Refugees and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have approved their entry into the country, but the refugees need the support of others. Many of the refugees have been tortured or endured slavery.

The federal government also has authorized Catholic Charities to receive and transition the refugees to become full citizens of the United States. Their work includes housing, education and ESL (English as a second language) courses, job training, medical care, and a range of social services coordinated for refugees by their respective case managers.

The new partnership is designed to help Catholic Charities provide services as well as enable the congregations to connect on a personal level with the refugees. On Sunday, September 22, New Life hosted visits to a Sunday service by eight refugees who asked to attend New Life – two Iraqi Assyrian Christians, five Bhutanese Hindus and one Iraqi Muslim. The church also hosted a day in which 22 of the refugees visited the beach for their first look at the Pacific Ocean.

“The congregation has met people whose stories and trials are humbling us, changing the way we see the world, and making God’s work all the more powerful as we his hand in this ministry every day,” says Andrea Lee, a staff member at New Life.

Through the partnership, New Life hopes to help Catholic Charities rent a second transition house. The arrangement calls for the church to fund the house and provide volunteers for three years while long-term support is sought from other churches and organizations.

The partnership is seeking volunteers who can help with basic maintenance at the transition house, provide rides to doctor appointments and grocery stores, stock the house with staples, and provide outings to local events, parks, beaches, for the refugee families.

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