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Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources

Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources

“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me….”
Jesus, speaking in Matt. 25: 34-35

Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources is a diocesan group dedicated to helping area asylees and refugees feel welcomed and supported as our neighbors. We responded to their needs in several ways.

  • Through the efforts of churches and related groups in our diocese, Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources undertook or led donation appeals for newly arrived refugees settling in our area, such as collecting pots, pans, and linens for their homes, along with school backpacks, supplies, and lunchboxes for the children of refugees.
  • Several Episcopal parishes have refugee ministry groups serving organizations and individual families in their own communities, such as ALERT in the Lancaster Convocation, outreach efforts by St. James Church (Lancaster), and sponsorship of a refugee family by All Saints Church (Hanover).

If your parish would like to share its work serving and supporting asylees and refugees, contact Gerry Garber.

Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources developed a 3-part learning series that you can use in your church or group to educate people about asylees and refugees. If you have a refugee community living nearby that you would like to work with, or if you simply want to know more about their needs, this education series will help you. The series is designed so that it can be self-led by a group, or you can request to have a member of the Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources assist with the presentation. The series is available by clicking to the right under DMMR Resources.

Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources always welcomes new members. If you are interested in helping asylees and refugees, or if your parish is already involved in such a mission, please consider joining our group. We meet on the third Tuesday of every month at 1 PM at All Saints Church, located at 310 Elm Avenue, Hershey. Contact Carolyn Joy Patterson or call (717) 236-5959 (ext. 1101) for more information.

Supplies needed for Refugee Children

Diocesan Migration Ministry Resources is launching a donation appeal for school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes to give to newly-arriving refugee children. The appeal begins July 1 and runs through October.

Please donate new backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies. Consider filling a backpack with some or all of the following items; a box of Ticonderoga #2 pencils (standard & color), markers,

highlighters, dry erase markers/fine tip (Expo preferred), broad tip markers(Crayola preferred), a box of Crayola crayons (24 count), construction paper, glue sticks, scissors (child safe), 12″ rulers (metric & inches), erasers (pencil top & full size), index cards, Post-it notes, composition books, 3-hole punched lined paper, printer paper, plastic folders with inside pockets, and a pencil pouch. Or separately donate any of these items. Bring items to the diocesan office or contact Carolyn Patterson at (717) 236-5959 or cpatterson@diocesecpa.org for pickup.

An Exciting Family Update

The HAIKAL family of six from Syria arrived at the Harrisburg Airport on July 27. This family is being sponsored by Derry Presbyterian Church in Hershey, with assistance from All Saints’ Episcopal Church. The family consists of mother, father, three school age boys and a preschool daughter. Housing was found through Love Inc.’s Homes for Hope program. The family is settling in well, the boys are being enrolled in the public schools, and the young daughter will attend preschool at Derry Presbyterian. ESL programs have been set up and tutoring has begun on a daily basis. The family has been enrolled for medical and food assistance, and Mohammed, the father, has a promising job interview this week. They have already visited Hersheypark and the local swimming pool complex. School starts next week and so does soccer for the boys. Everyone is enthusiastic and the sponsorship team, though working hard, is seeing positive results from their labors. A few glitches occurred including a plumbing emergency and a six year old child inadvertently set off a fire alarm added to the adventure. We are moving forward with many blessings along the way!

Who Are Asylum Seekers? How are they Different from Refugees?

Asylum seekers are people who come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. (Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). If they are eligible for asylum, they may be permitted to remain in the United States. They must fill out an application for asylum within one year of arrival in the U.S. They may include their spouse and children on the application until a final decision is made on their case.

Refugees are people who live outside the United States and were forced to flee across an international border to seek protection in another country. (Source: Episcopal Migration Ministries). They have the same fear of persecution as asylum seekers. The United Nations Refugee Agency determines that if a refugee cannot return to their home country or stay in the country to which they have fled, they can be resettled to a third country, such as the United States. The U.N. Refugee Agency chooses the country for resettlement, subject to approval by that country. If that country is the United States, refugees then must be approved by the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Refugees are matched with a national resettlement agency such as Episcopal Migration Ministries or Catholic Charities and must settle initially in the area chosen for them, where they receive temporary financial help.

Once approved, both asylum seekers and refugees have the right to remain legally in the United States. Bishop Scanlan has released a statement regarding refugees. To read the statement, click here.

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