The changing demographic of refugee resettlement in the US is impacting local churches.

I had an encouraging phone call today with a pastor serving with Elmbrook Church in Milwaukee, WI. He told me about a ministry center that they set up several years ago to serve refugees within their community and how the church is involved and connecting with resettled refugees. It has been a blessing for all.

But now refugee resettlement numbers to the US have been drastically reduced, US resettlement agencies are closing down. Precious few people are given the opportunity to begin rebuilding their shattered lives here in the US. Elmbrook’s ministry is among those affected. They fear that this opportunity for ministry is disappearing. They are evaluating whether or not to keep the ministry center open.

Thankfully, they are not thinking of giving up. Our conversation affirmed that they might be able to tweak the present center into something that reaches out to more than the newest arrivals to the community from abroad. We imagined what it might be like to transform it into a culture center that welcomes and serves the broader community of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants.

Elmbrook is still evaluating how to best proceed, but I came away from our call deeply encouraged to hear of a local church with a big heart for refugees and migrants in its community. May God raise up 100,000 churches around the world that share such a heart and commitment.

The world changes for the better whenever a local church loves its neighbors.

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