Background: Asylum-seekers flee persecution, violence, and conflict to find safety in another country, just as refugees do. Refugees have already received official protected status; asylum-seekers are seeking status. Many of the women, children, and men arriving in the US from the “Northern Triangle” – Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – are asylum-seekers.

Arrivals of asylum-seekers at the US southern border are on the rise and the need for congregations/groups (especially in the US interior) to come alongside asylum-seekers through the ministry known as accompaniment – material needs support, friendships, accompaniment through the legal process, and more – is likewise growing.

The project: Episcopal Migration Ministries, in partnership with Church World Service, many other Protestant denominations, and a working group of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, is contributing to a guide/toolkit for congregations who are engaging in the ministry of asylum-seeker accompaniment.

Join us: We are forming a working group of Partners in Welcome members who will review, edit, adapt, and contribute to this guide.

Ideal “candidates” to join the working group are:

  • Individuals whose congregations have co-sponsored a refugee family, accompanied an asylum-seeker, and/or prepared their church to be a Sanctuary congregation
  • Individuals with professional and/or volunteer experience in accompanying asylum-seekers, refugees, or other immigrant populations
  • Individuals who were once asylum-seekers/refugees or are currently seeking asylum, whose lived experience and guidance will be invaluable to composition of the resource
  • Individuals with limited to no experience in accompaniment will also be considered, as their perspective will likewise be valuable in composing a resource that can assist congregations/individuals who are at the very beginning stages of accompaniment work
  • Individuals with skill in teaching, training, and organizing community-based and volunteer-driven initiatives
  • Individuals with strong written and verbal communication skills, a spirit of collaboration and partnership, a willingness to take on defined parts of the work, ability to deliver by deadlines

Members of the working group will be expected to:

  • Attend virtual meetings and/or conference calls, which will be conducted in English
  • Volunteer to take on various parts of the project, including but not limited to reading and providing feedback, copy-writing, editing, interviewing of practitioners, gathering of information and written resources
  • Communicate by email and/or phone call with Allison Duvall, who will lead/oversee the project
  • Assist in distribution and promotion of the guide, once completed, by social media, church/diocesan email listservs, word-of-mouth, etc.

Timeline for the project:

  • Church World Service will soon issue a “template” guide that its members denominations are invited to use, adapt, and distribute to their church members.
  • EMM will convene working group meetings throughout the summer, generally on a biweekly basis. These will likely commence in mid-June and conclude in mid-August.
  • The goal: release Version 1.0 of the guide in mid to late August. The guide will remain a living document to which individuals/congregations/dioceses are invited to contribute over time; new versions of the document will be released periodically, as circumstances on the ground and needs change.

To apply to join the working group: If you are interested in being part of the working group, please send a “cover letter” in email form describing your interest in this project and brief bio to Allison Duvall by June 14, 2019.

Allison will notify selected applicants by June 18, 2019 as to whether and how they may participate in the working group or review process.

The first meeting of the working group will be either June 20, 21, or 22 at a time that allows the most working group members to participate. Time will be determined by a Doodle poll of working group members.

Questions? Contact Allison Duvall at aduvall@episcopalchurch.org.