Pastor Linda McElroy of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Somerset, Penn., and her foster daughter Flor recently led their church in a Refugee Sunday celebration. Flor told her story at an adult forum and Pastor Paul Erbes, LIRS Gift Officer, was on hand to participate in a dialogue sermon with Pastor Linda.
Somerset sees a healthy amount of immigrants due to the need for migrant workers in the agricultural region along the turnpike. Many migrant workers also work in the restaurant industry where they are exploited.
Flor worried a little about the reactions she would get when she told her story of living in the United States with undocumented Salvadorian parents, who were always fearful of being deported. But not only was the response positive, “People wanted to get involved,” said Flor.
Linda added, “The congregation responded to the unaccompanied minors program, and after the service, several members decided to collect supplies for and pursue training to make visits to those living at the detention center in York, Pennsylvania.” Since then, Trinity’s church council has also decided to assist other congregations who are providing direct relief to migrant children. What a success indeed!
Refugee Sunday Celebrations like the one in Somerset have been held all over the country, and, as Pastor Linda observed, they are a great way to spread awareness about migrants and refugees and to get people involved in the cause.
If your congregation wants to participate, you can host a Refugee Sunday anytime. Visit lirs.org/Sunday14 for all the information you need to get started.