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Welcoming Christ, the Refugee: Refugee Sponsorship at AIC

Dear <<First Name>>,

This past Sunday, we jumped ahead in the Christmas story to the Holy Family's flight to Egypt as refugees escaping King Herod's wrath. In Matthew's Gospel, we are told that the baby Jesus would have been among the children massacred if Mary and Joseph had stayed in Bethlehem or were turned away at the border to Egypt. The same holds true for the refugees of today.

This is not a unique story. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, there are stories of person after person seeking refuge in a foreign land. Because of this history, the Bible is clear about how we are to treat strangers: "Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, for you were foreigners in Egypt."

Yet even with such a clear command, our religious ancestors often failed to welcome the stranger and the refugee, and our world often fails to do so today as well. Here at the American International Church, though, we have an opportunity before us to change that narrative by joining with other institutions in sponsoring a refugee family.

As we prepare to welcome Christ the Refugee this December, we also begin the journey of welcoming a refugee family of today. I encourage you to read on to find out more about this emerging opportunity. And as you discover how you might personally get involved, may you be inspired for the season ahead and moved to serve God with us in new and expanding ways.

In Faith,
Jonathan Miller
Missions and Ministry Intern

(Each week of Advent, we are sending brief messages inviting you to reflect on the week's message by offering ways to welcome and serve Christ today, in whatever identity he may come in.)
Unable to make it to church this past Sunday? You can listen to Jonathan's message on "Welcoming Christ, the Refugee" via the following link or download the SoundCloud app to your phone to catch up later in the week: https://soundcloud.com/amchurchlondon/welcoming-christ-the-refugee
Following on from the government’s commitment to resettle 20,000 refugees between 2015 and 2020, a community-led sponsorship scheme was introduced in 2016. Under the same scheme, AIC is partnering up with Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, Westminster Quaker Meeting and potentially other local institutions in order to welcome a refugee family to the West End in 2019. Along with financial and administrative commitments, AIC and the other institutions will be formally committed to helping the family adjust to life in London. To find out more information on the community sponsorship scheme, visit sponsorrefugees.org.
To learn more about the community sponsorship scheme and get inspired for the opportunity right here in central London, check out the video below:
We need accommodation!
 
Are you a landlord, do you know of any available property, or do you have a connection to a local housing association? One of the responsibilities of a sponsorship group is to find accommodation for the refugee family. That means that we need to find a two or three bedroom flat that is central, available for at least two years and can be rented at or near the area’s local housing allowance.

If you know of any potential housing, please email Jonathan Miller at jonathan@amchurch.co.uk.
Get involved with the application process:
 
We also need to fill out a detailed resettlement plan to submit to the Home Office, and we could use your help with some of the details:
  • Can you speak Arabic, and/or do you have connections with Arabic interpreters living in London?
  • Are you certified to teach English as a second language or know of someone who is?
  • Do you have experience working with vulnerable youth and/or adults recovering from traumatic situations?
  • Do you have a connection to a local mosque and/or an established Middle Eastern community in London?
  • Are you connected with any local schools that the children could attend?
  • Are you able to offer support in getting the parents into employment?
  • Do you have connections with any other local institutions that might be interested in getting involved with a sponsorship group?
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