Welcoming the Refugee

            Throughout 2017, Interfaith Winston-Salem programs will lift up the stories of refugees and the compassionate people who welcome them into their hearts and their community.
            Many local worship centers and interested individuals are working across dividing lines to create Good Neighbor Teams in collaboration with the refugee relief organization, World Relief, which has offices in High Point and Winston-Salem.
            Leaders of Interfaith Winston-Salem have formed a Good Neighbor Team that will receive a refugee family and assist with resettlement in Winston-Salem.  The team includes members from Green Street Church, Temple Emanuel, Ardmore United Methodist Church, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Annoor Islamic Center, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, The Community Mosque, Winston-Salem Friends, Messiah Moravian Church and others.
            Our efforts have good models to follow in the collaborative work currently being demonstrated by Temple Emanuel, Knollwood Baptist Church and the Annoor Islamic Center.  Ardmore Baptist and Centenary United Methodist are among other worship centers supporting resettlement efforts.
            Last year, Interfaith Winston-Salem hosted programs by Guilford College on the “Every Campus a Refuge” program, which since has been adopted by Wake Forest University.  In addition, volunteers from Knollwood Baptist and Temple Emanuel shared their experience of working with refugees during a “Journeys” breakfast presentation, and refugees participated in the annual Children’s Festival of Faith and Culture.
            In addition to the interfaith Good Neighbor team, programs with refugee influences during 2017 will include:

  • At the Journeys breakfast program on May 7, Kel Billings will share his journey working with immigrants and refugees while living in the Middle East.

  • On October 21, Stephan Bauman, the former president and chief executive officer of World Relief, will deliver the keynote address at the annual Carlton Mitchell Interfaith Series. The full program, which is still under development, will recognize refugee families who now call Winston-Salem home. Knollwood Baptist Church, which will host the event, is co-sponsor.

  • In November, children of refugee families will again be invited to join children from throughout the area in a day of arts, crafts, music, dance, food and other activities to build understanding of multiple faith and cultural traditions.

  • On November 14, the Interfaith Winston-Salem Book Club will read and discuss “Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis,” written by Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens and Dr. Issam Smeir.

Contact interfaithws@gmail.com if you’re interested in any of these programs.