Celebrating a Response to the Refugee Crisis

         Winston-Salem will celebrate its interfaith response to the global refugee crisis Saturday, October 21 with an afternoon of activities for children, youth and adults.

            “Refugees, Neighbors, Friends—An Interfaith Celebration” will be held at Knollwood Baptist Church, 330 Knollwood St., in Winston-Salem from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.  The event will involve families of refugees who have resettled in Winston-Salem and volunteers who are helping refugees make this their new home. Admission is free and the wider community is invited.

            Stephan Bauman, former President and CEO of World Relief, will deliver the keynote address at 3 p.m. World Relief, which has offices in High Point and Winston-Salem, is one of 10 agencies in the United States that works through the United Nations to resettle refugees.  Bauman currently is executive director of the Cornerstone Foundation, which serves people in the least resourced and accessible places of the world.

            The United Nations estimates that there are more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, including over 22 million people classified as refugees. Winston-Salem’s refugee resettlement effort has involved participation by members of Muslim, Jewish, Christian and other faith communities, often working together. In recent years, they have helped make Winston-Salem home for more than 300 individuals from The Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Chad, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Myanmar, Bhutan, Vietnam, Yemen, Somalia, and Cuba.

            “Knollwood is honored to host this celebration of both refugees and local people who are working to ease the worst humanitarian crisis of our time,” said Dr. Bob Setzer, pastor at Knollwood. "As the three great Abrahamic faiths -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- teach us, in welcoming the stranger, we welcome God."

The afternoon schedule:

·      1-3 p.m. – Reception; food from the refugees’ homelands; information booths; activities for children and families, including inflatables, arts and crafts, soccer and other games

·      2-3 p.m. – Stories of the refugee experience (a video premier); Reflections on welcome (an interfaith panel discussion)

·      3-4 p.m. – Stephan Bauman - Keynote speech, book signing (Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis and Break Open the Sky)

·      3-4 p.m. – Supervised children’s activities

      The celebration is sponsored by the Rice-Cunningham Fund of Knollwood Baptist Church and the Carlton Mitchell Interfaith Series of Interfaith Winston-Salem.


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