Imagine a Nigerian fleeing the Christian/Muslim violence in his or her home town. The refugee lands in the U.S. only to be welcomed by Muslims and Christians at the airport. It may sound surreal, but the Minnesota Council of Churches' (MCC) latest initiative, called "Taking Root," intends to make this a reality.
Our nation is a nation of immigrants. People have arrived in this land under various circumstances. We came here as explorers, conquerors, colonists, slaves, entrepreneurs, and refugees. For refugees, it must be quite an intimidating experience to arrive in a completely alien land with no connections whatsoever.
The "Taking Root" program of MCC is a unique collaborative partnership between Christians and Muslims that aims to welcome refugees to our country. This initiative seeks to increase the faith-in-action aspect of interfaith relations and must be lauded for its ingenuity. It goes beyond just words and asks us to walk the talk by helping the stranger and future neighbor - something both religions emphasize as a priority.
MCC is sponsoring 100 "free-case" refugees in 2010. It will be creating 20 ten-member sponsorship groups that are mixed Muslim and Christian in composition. It has hired two half-time organizers, one for the Christian community and one for the Muslim community. MCC will identify 20 host sites: churches, mosques and community centers that will be gathering places for meetings and will collect household goods for the arriving families.
The first orientation for this program will be this Thursday night, March 11 from 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM at the Minnesota Church Center, 122 West Franklin Ave in Minneapolis. A halal meal will be served and you can learn how you can be part of this innovative way to build interfaith relationships while helping a refugee family get settled in the U.S.
Interested people can contact Gail Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-230-3210.
Let the goodness Take Root.