Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Meeting

Dear Church Family,
Last week the Board of Missions and Social Action had it’s October meeting. We brainstormed many ideas to help in our local region and beyond. On Tuesday evening several of us will be attending the event below. If you are interested in joining us please call or e-mail me.
Ginny Moore or 222-9675

14th October 2015

We hosted a series of discussions with Linda Hartke from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service on the Syrian Refugee Crisis, as well as the Central American migration of children and families, September 25th – 27th. It was inspiring to hear how much the people in our surrounding communities want to respond in ways that will be most helpful.

We give thanks to those who signed the petition asking to increase to 100,000 the number of Syrian Refugees to be admitted to the US in Fiscal Year 2016. Calling the President and your Congressional Representatives about this would be a good follow-up, since the Administration will be making the decision very soon on the number to be admitted.
Many signed up to continue conversation as a working group to explore our options in the Upper Valley and possibly beyond.
A follow-up meeting will be held here at Our Savior Lutheran Church & Campus Ministry, 5 Summer St., Hanover, NH 03755 [1] (603-643-3703) on Tuesday, October 20th, from 7-9 p.m.
Now that we know, based on the information we received over the weekend, that “sponsoring a refugee family” is a rather different process than it was in the past, we can move ahead to:

1. Explore if the Upper Valley and surrounding communities are a welcoming and viable region for Syrian families to relocate. How might we work to determine that? Who can be helpful? The issues raised were: availability of affordable housing, job prospects, a community of people for ethnic and religious companionship and support, social supports that refugees can actually access as refugees. What differences are there between NH and VT offerings of state services for refugees?
2. If we decide actively to pursue bringing families here, how will we work together to make that argument? Is it best to work through Ascentria in Concord (Ann Dancy was the representative with us on Saturday), which receives local placement contracts through LIRS, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and the Episcopal Migration Ministries, three of the 9 national groups contracted with the US Dept. of State for refugee placement work?
3. Are there other avenues to be of real material support for Syrian refugee families coming to New England? Some possibilities raised: taking on a rental subsidy for a certain number of families; raising funds to meet the difference in cost for a certain number of families between what government contracts provide and what the actual costs are; actually providing furnishings, ESL tutoring, etc., or funding such things. Another idea is to lobby educational institutions to seek Syrian students who qualify as refugees, with part of their financial support coming from community members.
We have good thinkers and good hearts in our communities who can make something real happen, of that we’re sure!

If you are interested in this work, please come together with us on Tuesday, October 20th, from 7-9 p.m. Do research in the meantime if you have a particular idea you’d like to promote. We might find we’re able to divide into various working groups for particular projects or further research.
Thank you all so much!

Susan Thomas, Pastor
Our Savior Lutheran Church & Campus Ministry
5 Summer St.
Hanover, NH 03755
[2] 603-643-3703