We Care: Advocating for Immigrantss
RESURRECT: Addressing Homelessness and assisting our Apartment Ministry
We Care is a diverse group of engaged citizens who desire to better understand and work to alleviate the struggles faced by immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. This group welcomes community members of all faiths, nationalities, and walks of life to join in this effort. The members of We Care firmly believe it is important to treat neighbors as we would like to be treated, regardless of political affiliation, race or ethnicity.
We Care was brought to life after a service at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Carlisle. Sermon, scriptures, music and prayers that Sunday morning in June moved a large number of attendees to gather. They asked, “What can we do to help the refugees and immigrant families on the borders today?” Sitting idle while families are knocking on our nation’s doors asking for help after escaping poverty, terror, and persecution just isn’t Christian. Furthermore, a new Homeland Security policy that separated families with children evoked feelings of injustice among those who had gathered after the service. The group felt the urgent need to be a positive voice echoing “WE CARE” within this community.
How Do We Bring About Conversation
In an attempt to broaden understanding of the plights and challenges facing immigrants and refugees, the group decided to invite guest speakers for a community event. We Care began by reaching out to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) for support in educating ourselves and the community. In return, We Care proudly advocates for LIRS’s initiatives and services, which have been in existence since World War II.
We Care trusts in God to guide us as to where to turn from here: we have joined forces with Compass Immigration Services, for instance, to help asylum-seeking families during that crisis, for example. The group intends to keep a dialogue open to widen understanding and dispel misconceptions about immigrants. With time, if the right conditions exist, We Care may pursue adoption of a refugee family.
Again, We Care encourages community members, churches, students, etc. to collaborate or join the group at St. Paul. We can be reached through the church office (717-243-2319) or by contacting Holly Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the fall of 2020, one of the WE CARE members noticed a homeless man sleeping in our church courtyard. The Holy Spirit led the Team, through meetings with Pr. Clarke, to partner with the Apartment Ministry to form RESURRECT, a volunteer and fundraising group to rehabilitate our 14 attached church-owned apartments. These are used as low-income housing but had fallen into disrepair. RESURRECT members were able to get a grants through the Partnership for Better Health and a Community Development Block Grant through the county … as well as organize dozens of volunteers. Hundreds of hours of volunteer renovation work have been put into scraping and painting exteriors, repairing exterior and interior woodwork, cleaning basements, and restoring common areas. One building (221 W. Louther) has been completely renovated because of its poor condition. Units are being repaired (especially electrical systems), and apartments are undergoing renovations as old tenants move out and new ones move in. This work is ongoing and we welcome volunteer labor and funds in order to continue to provide low-cost housing to those in need … including immigrants!