Refugee Resettlement Co-Sponsorship

As we continue to pray for those impacted by humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and other parts of the world, we aim to live out the biblical call to welcome the stranger and demonstrate loving hospitality to those in need. As refugees arrive in the U.S. seeking resettlement and welcome, our church can play a part in offering care and love.

First Presbyterian is partnering with Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Washtenaw County, a local agency involved with resettlement efforts in our area. JFS has begun a program for congregations in our area to “co-sponsor” a refugee family, and First Pres has applied to welcome one of these families. You can learn more about JFS and this program from their website here.

As a co-sponsoring organization, First Pres will receive training, guidance and support from JFS, but we will be primarily responsible for coordinating funds, locating housing, furnishing an apartment, welcoming the family upon their arrival, helping adults find employment in our area, connecting children to schools, and helping meet other various needs during the family’s first twelve months in the U.S.

We’re currently organizing ourselves under five project groups to focus particular aspects of need. If you are interested in joining the work (either generally or with a focus on one of these particular areas, contact project leaders Rev. Hannah Lundberg, Sidonie Smith, or Mark Newton. Hannah can be reached at hlundberg@firstpresbyterian.org

Current project groups include:
Housing
-Focus on locating affordable housing, furnishing an apartment, and providing ongoing support when questions arise around housing needs.

Welcoming/ Arrival
-Focus on logistics for a family’s initial arrival and acclimation to our area.

Healthcare
- Connecting family members to healthcare resources and helping them navigate health and wellness questions. 

Education
-Registering children for school, connecting all family members with ESL classes, and providing ongoing support around learning needs (language practice, etc.)

Community and Cultural Orientation
- -Introducing the family to local resources (libraries, faith communities, bus routes, etc.) and answering questions related to American culture. 

JFS has begun scheduling trainings via Zoom for each of these areas and others. If you would like to be involved, you’ll need to register as a volunteer with JFS and complete several trainings related to the work you might engage. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Rev. Hannah Lundberg for more details at hlundberg@firstpresbyterian.org