On Giving Tuesday, volunteers from the Refugee Community Center at the Church of the Mediator, Allentown, took part in Episcopal Migration Ministries’ #UNselfie campaign, which asked participants to post photos to social media showing why they support refugees. The sign says, “We #supportrefugees to welcome them to our community!”
Within walking distance of the church are new refugee neighbors from Eritrea, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burma (Myanmar), who speak Arabic, Kiswahili and multiple Burmese dialects.
The Refugee Community Center, which grew out of an Arabic-English book drive in 2015, opened in September and welcomes refugees with free community dinners, English as a Second Language classes, discussion groups, prayer and more.
“Neighbors are offering time, skills, and funds in support of the mission,” says the Rev. Twila Smith, Mediator’s missioner, “and new community partnerships are emerging for health and wellness. Coming together at tables plays an important role, whether it is children sharing snack time or community feasts for 150 people.”
The most recent dinner held on November 15 was prepared by local refugees, with support from church volunteers. Learn more about the center and how you can get involved or donate via an Amazon wish list on the parish website.