It was not easy last week saying our goodbyes to the refugee family, which left Connecticut on April 15th to live with a cousin who is part of a Congolese community in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The cousin has been in the US now for 7 years, lives in a large, multi-bedroom house, and has helped other refugee families to resettle in the Grand Rapids area. He himself was resettled by Bethany Christian Services, a refugee resettlement organization with an excellent reputation in the Grand Rapids area, and he continues to have active contact with Bethany. We are hopeful that Bethany Christian Services might be able to provide some support for the family, especially during the early weeks of the transition there.
As you can imagine, the family has (another) very challenging transition in front of them. While they have expressed their appreciation for the support they have received from folks here in Connecticut since they moved here in November, they have told us they have been lonely, and that the attraction of living in a community with extended family and with a concentration of other African refugees in Grand Rapids is a powerful one. They have also expressed that it is extremely expensive to live in Connecticut, and they have been concerned that they would have trouble making ends meet in our area for the long term.
IPRR, our interfaith group comprised of six faith communities, has thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the members of the family, and learned much along the way. The family has added so much to our lives and we will miss them a great deal! Our heartfelt prayers go with the family as enter the next phase of their resettlement journey as they put down roots in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the weeks and months ahead.
IPRR met on Tuesday evening, April 18th at Trinity to share what we've learned and experienced together in our work with the family since November, and to talk about the future of IPRR, including a discussion of whether we see resettling another refugee family as part of our future. Stay tuned for more details!
The family from the Congp, which has been supported by Trinity Church and the 5 other faith communities that together founded the Interfaith Partnership for Refugee Resettlement (IPRR), recently passed their 90-day anniversary since arriving in our country. Before arriving in Connecticut, the parents had fled from the Congo and had been living in a large refugee camp in Tanzania for 16 years, where all four of their children had been born and had lived their entire lives.
Much has happened since the family first arrived at JFK airport on November 17th. They have been living in a beautiful apartment in Danbury, and working hard to learn English, and understanding life in Connecticut. Through the combined efforts of dozens and dozens of dedicated and caring volunteers from IPRR’s six Newtown faith communities (as well as other interested members of the Newtown and Danbury communities), the four children have gotten off to a terrific start in the Danbury public schools, they are learning how to navigate Danbury, and they are seeking to build relationships with their neighbors and members of the Trinity Tabernacle Church in Danbury, where they worship each week.
The transition to a new country, a new culture, and a new language has not always been easy. They miss their friends back in Tanzania and interacting with others who speak their language and share their culture. In fact, they are currently considering a move to another location outside of Danbury – possibly outside of Connecticut – to become part of a Congolese community. Whether they stay in Danbury or relocate to another area, there is still much to do as we strive to help them reach their goal of self-sufficiency in the US. And whether they stay or relocate, we are grateful for the indelible mark their family has made on our group, as well as those in the Danbury community whom have come to know them. Please pray for the family (and for IPRR) as we continue to work together to explore what (and where) comes next in their journey ahead.
The Interfaith Partnership of Refugee Resettlement (IPRR), of which Trinity is one of the six founding faith groups, was delighted to welcome to our community a Congolese family of six that arrived in Connecticut on November 17th!
Much has happened in the 6 weeks since the family arrived. They live in a beautiful apartment in Danbury, and are working hard at learning English and understanding life in Connecticut. Next week the 4 children will start public school, the parents will be looking for jobs, and the family will continue to build relationships with their new neighbors and growing circle of friends.
Please pray for this family and their transition to our country as they begin their new lives with us, regain hope and contribute to the vitality of the greater Danbury community!
The Interfaith Partnership of Refugee Resettlement (IPRR) has accepted the invitation to sponsor a Congolese family of six. The invitation was extended by the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) to IPRR, a group Trinity founded with five other faith communities.
Although we don't know a great deal at this point about the family, we know there are 4 kids ranging in age from 6 to 15, the family speaks Swahili, Bembe, some French and some English, and the parents were farmers in the Congo.
IPRR will be meeting soon with IRIS to discuss family particulars and pre-and post-arrival tasks, activities and milestones, after which we will have many more specifics to share with you. But for now, we invite you to join us in celebrating together as we take the next big step toward helping a family from the Congo begin a new life, regain hope and contribute to the vitality of the greater Danbury community!
Our Interfaith Partnership for Refugee Resettlement group, made up of a number of Trinity parishioners as well as members of other local faith communities, is looking for furnishings and household goods that are available to donate to our refugee family that we anticipate will be arriving sometime in the fall.
If you have any gently used items you think might be useful, please visit our furnishing/household donations sign-up page on SignUpGenius.
You will find that there are many different types of items that we will be needing for our refugee family. A list of any item(s) you sign up for will be sent to Eve Whitmore, who is coordinating our Furnishings/Household Goods committee. Eve will send you further instructions on where to bring the donations once we have an apartment secured for our refugee family. It would be best if you could hold on to your items until then, but if this is not possible, we will work with you to figure something out. If you have any preliminary questions or you need clarification, you can reach Eve at email@example.com.
Thank you all in advance for your support of our group’s efforts to help a refugee family begin a new life, regain hope and contribute to the vitality of the greater Danbury community!
A number of Trinity members have started full day orientation/training sessions with CT’s Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in anticipation of our helping resettle a refugee family in the greater Newtown area in the coming months. We are doing this as part of the Interfaith Partnership for Refugee Resettlement group. We are working together with the Newtown Congregational Church, the Baha’i faith community of Newtown, the Newtown Church of Jesus Christ of LDS (Mormons), the Al Hedaya Muslim Community and Mosque, and several other members of the Newtown community.
We have been able to add to our number of additional volunteers (we now have more than 50) thanks to an article that appeared in the August 5th edition of the Newtown Bee describing our group’s efforts and inviting community members to join us (to check out this article, go to: http://newtownbee.com/the-interfaith-partnership-for-refugee-resettlement-offering-hope-to-strangers.
Later this month, the chairs of all 10 of our working committees (focused on areas such as locating housing, welcoming and orienting the refugee family, teaching English, coordinating transportation, providing health care support, helping adults find jobs, etc.) will be meeting to finalize the various tasks that will need to be completed in the coming weeks to prepare for the arrival of a family referred to us by IRIS.
We should know more about the timing of a referral of a refugee family after our last orientation session in early September. Anyone at Trinity interested in volunteering or becoming of our group would be most welcome, and may contact Rick Chamiec-Case at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We ask that you would continue to actively support this new ministry at Trinity by remembering us regularly in your prayers as we seek to draw on our faith to help a refugee family begin a new life, regain hope and contribute to the vitality of the greater Newtown community!
The Interfaith Partnership For Refugee Resettlement: Offering Hope To Strangers by Shannon Hicks, August 7, 2016
While politics on the national level may have taken over many headlines in recent weeks, an international crisis is still being watched by many people around the world.
A small but growing group of people in Newtown are still watching the humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding overseas in recent years. In particular, these people have been touched enough by the Syrian refugee crisis that they have decided to do something about it.
Rick Chamiec-Case and Gordon Williams are serving as the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of a local group that is planning to help a refugee family from the Middle East or Africa become resettled in the Newtown area. The group — Interfaith Partnership for Refugee Resettlement (IPRR) — has developed out of a common interest among a growing number of members of Trinity Episcopal Church, of which Mr Chamiec-Case is a member, and Newtown Congregational Church, of which Mr Williams is a member. (Continue reading on the Newtown Bee website.)
Trinity’s inter-faith refugee resettlement ministry is delighted to announce that our application to help resettle a refugee family in the greater Newtown area in the coming months has been accepted by CT’s Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS).
We applied in partnership with 5 other faith communities - Newtown Congregational Church, the Baha’i faith community of Newtown, the Newtown Church of Jesus Christ of LDS (Mormons), the Al Hedaya Muslim Community and Mosque
We start a full day orientation and training on either Aug 4th or a date early in September at IRIS’ office in New Haven.
We’ve recruit chairperson volunteers for almost all 10 of our working committees as well as almost 50 additional volunteers from among our 5 faith communities. They are focused on locating housing, welcoming and orienting the refugee family, teaching English, coordinating transportation, providing health care support, and helping adults find jobs. In addition, our group (with your help) has been able to raise over $6,000 to help with rent, a security deposit and other expenses the family will face in the early months until they are able to sustain themselves.
We invite you to actively support this new ministry at Trinity by remembering us regularly in your prayers, and considering our invitation to volunteer either as individuals or families as we seek to draw on our faith to help a refugee family begin a new life, regain hope and contribute to the vitality of the greater Newtown community!
Through Trinity’s leadership of and participation in this inter-faith ministry, we are seeking to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community, and to be faithful to God’s call to show compassion for those who have had no choice but to leave their countries due to war, persecution, or threats of violence:
The LORD your God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19 CEB)
The musician recorded this song to humanize the plight of refugee children.
Interfaith Partnership for Refugee Resettlement