Thanks to the hard work of many local congregations, and especially the staff of LSS of Wisconsin, Madison is now a sub-office for refugee resettlement. Four families have already arrived in 2009, and we anticipate 125 refugees arriving in 2010. St. John Lutheran of Madison is the gracious host for the new office space for this sub-office.
Most if not all of the refugees arriving in Madison will be Bhutanese. These refugees have been in refugee camps in SE Nepal since 1991, around 18 years! They have been anticipating moving to a new country for a very long time.
Congregations and individuals in our synod have a variety of opportunities to welcome them and help with resettlement. These include:
1) Congregations can contact the refugee resettlement office to volunteer as co-sponsoring congregation. Congregations that co-sponsor a family commit to approximately six months of hands on support for a refugee family.
2) Individuals can volunteer to help with one-time or on-going tasks, like helping on move-in day when the family arrives and moves into their apartment, or as a bus buddy, helping refugees find their way around the city by bus.
3) Congregations or individuals can donated furniture, household goods, and clothing.
If you are interested in any of these possibilities, call Rebekah Johnson, 414.325.3098, or e-mail at rebekah.Johnson@lsswis.org
Thanks to Rebekah and many others who are making this a reality, where we have the opportunity in a very concrete way to fulfill the biblical mandate to welcome the stranger. If you are interested in speaking with congregations who already have experience with refugee resettlement, or are looking for a speaker on refugee resettlement, feel free to contact Pastor Clint Schnekloth, contact information below.