Your NT-NL Synod, ELCA staff had our regular weekly meeting today (minus Bishop’s Associate Pastor Totzke who is on a much deserved vacation week). In addition to our normal business we were joined by Dr. Kristin Witte, Outreach Director for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).
I invited Dr. Witte to join us so we could learn more about the current migrant and refugee situation and how our congregations can work with LIRS to serve our neighbors in need, particularly unaccompanied minors. This has become all the more real as NT-NL clergy and lay volunteers are actively ministering to migrant youth housed at the Dallas convention center.
We learned a great deal about the current situation, how LIRS is working to ensure that the priority with these youth is work to unite them with family (it is estimated 85% of them have family in the United States), and other opportunities for service including foster care.
She reminded us also this is not the first such spike of migrants at the border, it has happened multiple times over the years. Also that refugee resettlement also continues to be an important part of LIRS’ work and that work will accelerate with the number of refugees being admitted likely increasing (though not to the highest levels she reminded us during the Reagan administration).
Serving our neighbors is a clear command for us from God. As Lutherans we understand that God has reconciled Godself to us so that we can focus not on ourselves but on our neighbor. LIRS has been doing this work for decades and we are privileged to be able to partner with them. More information will be shared in coming days.
Also, with staff getting vaccinated over the next couple months we will be in the office more often. Today I took this meeting from my office at Briarwood Leadership Center which also offered me the chance to observe the continued repairs of facilities from damage from the winter storm. Thankfully again the Christ Leadership Center was spared dramatic damage. However the damage to many Quail Run rooms was extensive. Mitigation and repair crews are on site and work is continuing as we steward this resource of our synod. #NTNL #LIRS #BWTX #InMissionTogether