June 20, 2023

As we celebrate Pride Month and World Refugee Day  – my first as the Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries – I find myself filled with gratitude. These past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and visit many of our local refugee resettlement affiliates, and I’m in awe.

I’ve met incredible staff and volunteers everywhere I’ve gone, and I’m inspired by the beautiful hearts in the teams of people across the world who dedicate their personal and professional lives to the service of others.

I’ve met many newcomers whom we have welcomed to the United States. I am moved by their incredible faith and hope as they sought safety and shelter in lands unknown, and by their amazing spirit and strength as they build new lives in the U.S.

As I continue my travels visiting our affiliate partners, I have no doubt that I will continue to be astounded by the generosity and power of the human spirit.

You see, refugee resettlement and support for
asylum seekers, at their very core,
are about community and hope.

And during June, we proudly celebrate both.

In addition to our annual observation of World Refugee Day, we have also joined in celebration of Pride Month through our Rainbow Initiative. The Rainbow Initiative is a project of Episcopal Migration Ministries which was created in response to an Episcopal Church General Convention resolution called D045 “On Supporting LGBTIQ+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers”. The Rainbow Initiative educates congregations and communities and inspires them to advocate, pray, and engage in direct service to support LGBTQ+ forced migrants (refugees and asylum seekers). While they are part of the larger population of persons displaced by persecution, LGBTQ+ forced migrants face unique challenges on account of their identity.

We hope you’ll join us in celebration of Pride and World Refugee Day by:

  • Incorporating these special Collects and Prayers of the People in your worship services.
  • Displaying this poster at your church or during Pride celebrations.
  • Sharing this flyer to help educate others about the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ forced migrants and opportunities to take action.

None of the work we do would be possible without the generous support of our donors, who join us to provide safety, welcome, community, and hope to newcomers. In addition to supporting our organization and operations broadly, we thank the many EMM donors who have provided additional funding for needs that fall outside of federal funding for refugee resettlement. This includes dental restoration services, college courses, drivers’ education classes (all vital to helping adult refugees find sustainable employment), as well as clothing and toys for children.

If you’ve made a gift to support Episcopal Migration Ministries in the last year, thank you.

To make a contribution to honor World Refugee Day, please visit iam.ec/wrd.

As I reflect on my past year as EMM director, I can’t help but notice how those who volunteer, give, work, and welcome newcomers are living out what Presiding Bishop Curry refers to as the dream of God. In the midst of crises, in response to despair, you – our supporters and friends – help to bring light and hope to newcomers and the communities that welcome them. Thank you.

Happy World Refugee Day and Happy Pride,

Sarah Shipman
Director of Operations
Episcopal Migration Ministries