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Peace with Justice Committee awards $10,000 to Center for New Americans

The Peace with Justice Committee of the Dakotas Conference recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the Center for New Americans operated by Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of South Dakota. The funds that are available to the Dakotas Conference are a portion of those collected on Peace with Justice Sunday.

The purpose of gifts from Peace with Justice Sunday is to fund programs that advocate for peace and justice in the Dakotas Conference, United States and around the world. These programs empower United Methodists to speak out for removing structures and systems that harm God's children.

The LSS Center for New Americans helps refugees become self-sufficient through a variety of services, including community orientation, case management, employment services, English classes, citizenship classes and immigration services. Many of our Dakotas United Methodist Churches directly support LSS as an organization that works ecumenically to address issues of peace and justice.

Dakotas Conference funds for Peace with Justice are distributed through the Missional Impact Link.

    Reverend Rebecca Trefz.

The Center for New Americans made the request for funds after the recent Presidential Executive Order and subsequent judicial action. There is a great deal of uncertainty about the future of refugee resettlement in the United States, as well as the future of LSS resettlement services in South Dakota.

LSS has a strong tradition of providing resettlement services. It has been a priority for LSS as early as 1948 following WWII, and they plan to continue to honor that tradition.

"We are happy to partner with LSS to welcome the stranger, to love our neighbor, and help show compassion for those who have lost everything," said Rev. Rebecca Trefz, Dakotas Conference Director of Ministry. "This gift is a way for United Methodists in the Dakotas to extend our missional impact in the area of peace and justice by supporting a strong program with a great history."

More than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide. The world is currently experiencing the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Refugees who come to the United States are among the most vetted immigrants. The comprehensive process takes 18 months to two years and involves a series of security screenings, including biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic document testing and in-person interviews. A refugee's identity is checked against law enforcement and intelligence databases. The Department of Defense, National Counterterrorism Center, FBI, Department of State and Department of Homeland Security are all involved.

"We continue to be inspired by God's love, to care for, support and strengthen individuals, families and communities. Keep refugees and their families in your prayers as you consider a financial gift to LSS. On behalf of all those served by our ministry, thank you," said Betty Oldenkamp, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota in a recent letter to the Dakotas Conference.

Adapted, Dakotas Annual Conference

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, Peace with Justice Sunday enables The United Methodist Church to have a voice in advocating for peace and justice through a broad spectrum of global programs. The special offering benefits peace with justice ministries in the annual conference and through the General Board of Church and Society.
When you give generously on Peace with Justice Sunday, you give The United Methodist Church a voice in advocating for global peace and justice. Give now.

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