As Lutherans, our faith calls us to care for those in need and welcome the stranger. As a nation that has proudly stood as a beacon of hope for those in need, we are defined by our commitment to compassion for the vulnerable and justice for all.
Our Lutheran roots of helping refugees trace back to the 1860s, when the New York Ministerium and the Pennsylvania Synod joined together to help and protect Lutheran immigrants in the U.S. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services was founded more than 75 years ago to protect and provide safety to Lutheran Refugees fleeing World War II.
Since 1975, right here in Arizona, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest has been resettling refugees who need a home. We need your help.
Responding to the Refugee Crisis
With the crisis in Syria causing thousands of refugees to spill over into Europe, refugee resettlement has once again stepped into the global spotlight. Many people in the U.S. wonder what America is doing to help. The Presidential determination of the refugee program has set a goal to resettle 85,000 refugees this next fiscal year beginning October 1, an increase of 10,000 over the previous year. This program and the budget, which is under the direction of the Department of State, has been approved by congress. Resettlement agencies around the country will begin to see increased numbers from Syria, while continuing to receive large numbers of refugees from The Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Somalia.
Local agencies like Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest take in hundreds of refugees each year, providing them with housing, English-language training, employment services, medical services, school enrollment and other resources needed to help refugees successfully integrate into their new communities. The goal is for refugees to become self-sufficient as they make their new home in the U.S. LSS-SW, which resettled nearly 800 refugees in Phoenix and 300 in Tucson, this past fiscal year, will continue to meet the needs of the global refugee community by supporting clients through every stage of the resettlement process. Church congregations and volunteers can partner with the agency to welcome these newcomers. For more information on how to provide support, contact Lutheran Social Services in Phoenix at 602-248-4400 ext. 117 and in Tucson at 520-721-4444 ext 101.
Rev. Donna Buckles is the Church and Community Development Manager for our Refugee Focus program.