Refugee Ministry: Serving Those Who Come to San Antonio from Around the World
Matthew 25:35 – “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Did you know the U.S. Department of State considers San Antonio an excellent city to settle families arriving in the U.S. as part of the formal Refugee Admissions Program? The low cost of living, strong job market and diverse culture make acclimation and assimilation possible. Our church’s Refugee Ministry, partnering with the Center for Refugee Services, is a critical component to refugee family success.
The Refugee Ministry Council is the advocate and resource in our church assisting these refugee families. They will transport children to VBS every summer, provide clothes and household items, offer transportation to dentist and doctor appointments, help with the Center for Refugee Services Play and Learn preschool program, provide Girl Scout opportunities, support the International Garden where fresh vegetables are grown, provide family mentoring support and many more services. Families come from all over the world including Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea and Iraq.
The Refugee Ministry Council hopes to expand our programs to this unique group of people but won't be able to move forward without the support of our church. Please help by donating to UUMC Refugee Ministry, or get involved with UUMC Refugee Ministry Council. Learn more about the Center for Refugee Services' current needs by following them on Facebook. There are many opportunities to extend the love of Christ to our new neighbors!
For more information or to serve with University Refugee Ministry, contact Kathy Shaffer.
Give to the University Refugee Ministry TheU.Org/Give (Donation amount in Other Giving and type “refugee ministry” in Provide Designation).
Email to get more information about Center for Refugee Services
Hebrews 13:2 – “…show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels…”
Literacy & Gardening at Locke Hill
The Pure Mercy ministry was started a few years ago to better love our neighbors at Locke Hill Elementary. We’ve served them in many ways from teacher appreciation meals, spring carnival support, and Christmas gifts to school supplies and new books. Next fall the two areas we are really trying to focus on is literacy and gardening.
Just a few weeks ago we partnered with the Locke Hill staff to provide books for those students that struggle with reading to counteract the summer reading slump through Read S’more. One hundred and fifty students went home with 10 of their own, grade-level appropriate books, and were challenged to read over the summer and earn prizes while learning. In the fall, we will work with the Locke Hill reading specialist and counselors to build a mentor reading program. The goal is to recruit people from our church to be trained, background checked, and committed to one hour, once a week for one school year. We will start the program small in the fall and then add more mentors once we know we have a well-designed program. Interested? Contact Steve Ryan.
A brand new effort with Locke Hill is building a community garden. Their ALE (Alternative Learning Experience) teacher met with our church staff asking for assistance in planning, building and maintaining a garden that they will use in their special education program. We are working on a plan through which the church’s Special Needs Ministry and Clark HS will partner with Locke Hill so all special needs programs can share the space, and our members can assist with some the heavy labor, maintenance and design support.
Right now we are looking for master gardeners, landscape design experts and green thumbs that have the skill set to ensure we select the correct location as well as other considerations we need for a successful garden in the fall. Interested? Contact Steve Ryan.
Helping Our Neighbors
Are you the person who can correctly put together the Ikea desk in 10 minutes without the instructions, or can hang a new towel rack, level and secure? Do you have a truck that can be used to move a bed or dresser? Do you have a passion for serving your neighbors no matter what level of skill you have? If so, we need you!
Sometimes foster parents need to prepare a room (furniture, clothes and other needs) for new kids within hours or days. There are people in our community that can no longer climb the ladder to clean the gutter, replace the AC filter or clean the dryer vent, and don’t have the money to pay someone. Refugee families are placed in San Antonio every month by the State Department, and need basic furniture and household supplies in their apartment, and have no vehicle and very little money.
As a church we can help! Every week we get calls for assistance. Can someone help put together a crib and shelf? Does someone have a truck to move a bed? Can I have help cleaning my yard before I get a city fine? These are usually easy problems to solve that are a tremendous help to people in need, and an opportunity to strengthen our community, but we don’t have a ministry in place that can quickly respond to these needs. How do we communicate these need to church members that can help? How do we evaluate the limits of what we can do? How do we train safety and security for those serving and being served?
If you are interested in getting this ministry off the ground, or just want to be one of those servants that have the needed skills, contact Steve Ryan.
Tuesdays At Mag House
We have a long-standing love for and service with Magdalena House. Many of our students who serve at Mag House are heading off to college, and they are looking for adults and students that can serve on Tuesday nights to help out with their Children's Activities. These responsibilities includes caring for and overseeing fun activities with the children of Magdalena House while their mothers participate in Life Enrichment Classes. This summer they will be participating in a Financial Peace workshop. We ask that all volunteers plan to be at Magdalena House from 6:15pm-7:45pm on scheduled evenings. We are looking for volunteers for the following dates:
If you are interested, please email Kayla Larvins at Magdalena House.