#Do1Thing – Our Definition of Refugee

16 January 2018

The Cheikho refugee family in their home. (Holy Trinity Parish)

Holy Trinity Parish in Washington, D.C. found that when they went to #Do1Thing to welcome refugees and migrants it turned into many things.

Last year, the parish partnered with Lutheran Social Services (LSS) – one of the nine voluntary resettlement agencies operating in the U.S. – to co-sponsor a refugee family arriving from the Middle East. As part of this program, since last February when they were connected with the Cheikho Family, a Kurdish Family from Syria, they have worked together to help this newly-arrived refugee family rebuild their lives in America. Parishioners have served as personal guides through a culture and community that is new and often strange to newly arrived refugees. The parish helped them reestablish their lives financially, but also accompanied them through this incredibly uncertain and scary time.

“The definition of a refugee is one that flees; especially a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution. For the parishioners of Holy Trinity Church a refugee is a friend; especially one who comes into your life from afar, bringing a joy, trauma and all the beauty of new life,” Says Kate Tromble, Holy Trinity’s Pastoral Associate for Social Justice. “For more than a year our parish has been accompanying a Kurdish family from Syria. The experience of making new friends has left a deep mark on all of us. It has been wonderful, it has been challenging, in short, it has been life. We wouldn’t trade the experience of getting to know this family for anything and we are all grateful for having had them enter our lives and hearts.”

Learning from their experience of accompanying refugees, Holy Trinity parishioners then took to Capitol Hill. They lobbied their Congressional offices for the protection and welcome of refugees around the world.

“In November 2017, I was part of a group of about six from Holy Trinity who visited congressional offices,” Says Jeanne Lynch, Holy Trinity Parishoner. “We spoke to them on the issues of DACA, suspended action against juveniles and immigration in general. We met with staff for the members the House who represent our districts and the 2 Virginia senators and explained our concern and, in some cases, argued for better treatment of immigrants.”

Parishoners met the Cheikho family as they arrived at the airport with ballons, gifts, and a warm welcome

Parishoners not only provided the family with welcome and guidance, but took them on fun trips. Here, the Cheiko children took a trip to Great Falls with two Parishoners

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