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Grants support Afghan arrivals

The United Methodist Committee on Relief has launched the Afghan Refugee Resettlement Reimbursement program, offering $1,000 grants to United Methodist churches partnering with Church World Service. 

ALICE TOWNLEY
Ministry Consultant, Michigan Conference

 “Welcoming refugees can be transformative for a church,” reflected the Rev. Jack Amick, in a recent phone conversation with the Rev. Alice Townley. Amick, a Michigan Conference clergy who serves as Director of Global Migration and special assignments for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), added, “Any church can now resettle, anywhere, through Church World Service. . . . Being with people, helping them navigate the town and school and work, sharing culture and food and table, learning from them . . . This kind of work is really sacramental.  To know these people is to see the face of God.” 

Michigan has begun welcoming an anticipated 1,300 Afghanis, with the leadership of several refugee resettlement agencies, and immigration legal aid from Justice for Our Neighbors.   

UMCOR is encouraging United Methodists to join in the welcoming of newly arriving neighbors from Afghanistan. In support of long-time partner Church World Service’s efforts, UMCOR is launching the Afghan Refugee Resettlement Reimbursement program. UMCOR will reimburse up to $1,000 to local UMCs in the United States who sponsor an arriving family with a CWS affiliate or directly with the CWS national office.  Click here for more information and for an application.  

Afghan Resettlement assistance

The United Methodist Church is one of 37 member communions of Church World Service. Church World Service is one of nine main U.S. resettlement agencies that work to coordinate across the country. In Michigan, affiliates of those nine agencies include Bethany Christian Services (South and Mid-West Michigan), St. Vincent Catholic Charities (Lansing), Samaritas (Southeast Michigan plus), Jewish Family Services (Washtenaw County), and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (Detroit). 

In Michigan, Bethany Christian Services is the Church World Service affiliate.

To sponsor a family through Bethany, contact:

Katie Carpenter in the Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon areas

Sara Blomgren in the Kalamazoo area

Church World Service is also now able to work directly with churches that want to sponsor a family, and this opens new doors in areas without a local refugee resettlement office.  For more information, read about The Afghan Placement and Assistance Program (APA) Community Partners and contact apacommunitypartner@cwsglobal.org.  

Some churches may choose to become sponsors but remember all can be supportive.  All United Methodists can host donation drives for financial assistance and needed household items, include stories and prayers in worship, collaborate with community partners, and advocate with elected officials, and build relationships with our new guests.  To find such links as donation wish lists, resettlement agencies, Justice for our Neighbors, the recent Michigan Conference webinar, “Welcoming New Afghan Neighbors: A How-To for Local Churches” visit our conference website or contact Sonya Luna or Alice Townley.

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