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Arab, 8, plays with a Superman toy. Originally from Daraa, Syria, his family came to the U.S. “for a better life,” his father said. The U.S. government granted them refugee status.


Resources l Learn about the Lutheran response


to Syrian refugees, volunteer, donate and advocate on behalf of Syrian refugees at www.lirs.org/Syria.


l Pray for Syrian refugees and celebrate a “Refugee Sunday” in your congregation in 2016 with free resources at www.lirs.org/ RefugeeSunday.


l Download for free “My Neighbor is Muslim: Exploring the Muslim Faith” at www.lirs.org/ MyNeighborIsMuslim.


United in welcome Today southeast Michigan boasts the largest Arab American com- munity in the U.S. Since the early 1990s, LSSM has worked with local partners to resettle the growing influx of Middle Eastern refugees. It partners with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), which leads a national network of 23 refu- gee service partners. In 2015, LSSM helped resettle


more than 556 people—70 from Syria—in southeast Michigan. “Looking at the overwhelming need, the percentage is very small,” Mitro- fan said. In 2016 she hopes that number


can grow. LSSM has pledged to settle an additional 1,000 refugees beyond its 1,800 to 2,000 each year. But that depends on conversations between the State Department, LIRS and other partners. “Te biggest issue that we’re deal-


ing with right now is the position that the 30 governors across the country have taken: they’re con- cerned about the vetting process,” said Sean de Four, LSSM vice president for children and family services. Tese calls to rein in the number


of refugees come in response to terrorist attacks in Paris; San Ber- nardino, Calif.; and beyond. LSSM is working with Michigan’s governor and the public to help them feel comfortable about welcoming Syr- ian and other refugees to the state, de Four said LSSM staff report that they’ve


received support from the com- munity encouraging their ministry for refugees. Nearby ELCA con- gregations have stepped forward to support refugees, hosting English as second language classes, holiday parties, movie nights and dinners for their new neighbors. Tey’ve also sent financial and in-kind donations to LSSM. And local employers have offered training, résumé-writing assistance and employment opportunities for refugees. Even neighboring Arab and


Jewish community groups that have historically not respected each other are collaborating to welcome Syr- ian refugees, Beals said. “It’s really brought out the best in people and we’re encouraged by it.” Collaboration is happening on


a national scale as well. In Decem- ber, LIRS convened a summit in


Harbor of Hospitality Seafarers


for


In the Ports of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Jersey New York & New England


Immigrants from detention centers in New Jersey & New York


and You in our guest house


Harbor of Hospitality


123 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003 Phone: (212) 677-4800


Book online: www.sihnyc.org


Your patronage supports our mission for seafarers and immigrants. A Mission of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


February 2016 13


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