The Compassion in Action committee has an exciting new project in the works. Some of you may have seen our notice at the Council Open House last month about a possible effort to help resettle refugees here in Newton. We're very happy to say that we've taken the first steps towards making that a reality.
What do we want to do?
As a congregation we want to join with other nearby faith communities to offer tangible, hands on assistance and support to a refugee family in distress, to help them reclaim their lives in safety and security, and resettle in their new community and neighborhood. Many refugee families have have lost family members and friends, material possessions, home and neighborhood, pets, and sometimes their faith. We want to help.
Our plan is to join other faith communities to provide this support under the guidance of the Refugee Immigration Ministry. Our own Isaac Seelam is the Congregational Coordinator with them, so we know it will be a good experience.
How did this come about?
We recently discovered that Temple Reyim (on Washington St. In Newton) is very interested in a multi-faith effort to assist asylum seeking refugee families resettled in Newton. They have partnered with Refugee Immigration Ministry and are forming a Newton “cluster" which is a group of congregations of various faiths to aid and support an asylum seeking family. Refugee Imigration Ministry provides a case worker to assist the “cluster” members to guide and support them in their efforts to help the family. First Baptist Church in Newton will be joining with Temple Reyim as the second member of the cluster.
The Compassion in Action Ministry group will be attending meetings in December to learn how to set up a cluster and prepare to be assigned a family in need. We hope to be assigned a family early in the new year.
What can we do as individuals?
Ponder and pray, listen for the call to welcome the stranger, offer hope where there is despair, and alleviate distress of displaced families. Pray for these families, for Refugee Immigration Ministry, and for guidance on responding to this urgent need.
Consider participating in some way. There will be opportunities with varying levels of involvement and commitment. We don't yet know the specifIc needs, as this will depend on the family we are assigned. But some possibilities include:
- Help a new arrival learn how to ride the MBTA or go grocery shopping.
- Drive someone to a doctor appointment.
- Offer a cup of tea, friendship, and hospitality to someone who has lost so much.
- Contribute items needed to set up housekeeping in a new apartment.
- Offer your expertise: homework help, babysitting, gardening, home repair, budgeting, setting up a checking account, creating a resume, job hunting, taking a driving test and getting a driver's license, etc.
- English language tutoring.
Let Sean, Wendy or Eunice or any member of the Council know
- What you think of this idea.
- What your questions are (we have plenty ourselves!).
- If you are interested in helping - this could be one time only, occasionally, or on an ongoing basis.
Wendy and Eunice
Compassion in Action at First Baptist Church in Newton