UMCOR supports refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in 2021

An anti-trafficking awareness event sponsored by United Methodist Women of Liberia. Photo: UMW Liberia
An anti-trafficking awareness event sponsored by United Methodist Women of Liberia. Photo: UMW Liberia
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 “This legal orientation program has saved my life and that of my family. We can now remain together safely.”

The above quote from an asylum seeker trying to cross the U.S. border highlights the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR) continuing work to support refugees and migrants around the world.

UMCOR’s Global Migration program supports humanitarian initiatives in the United States and around the world. Its major partners are Church World Service (CWS), and ACT Alliance, a now independent agency founded by the World Council of Churches. National Justice for Our Neighbors (NJFON), a subsidiary of UMCOR, provides legal assistance for those seeking asylum.

UMCOR supports Un Oasis en el Camino – a ministry of the Methodist Church of Mexico in Apaxco, which provides food, respite and “an oasis along the way” for migrants traveling on trains north. PHOTO: METHODIST CHURCH OF MEXICO 
UMCOR supports Un Oasis en el Camino – a ministry of the Methodist Church of Mexico in Apaxco, which provides food, respite and “an oasis along the way” for migrants traveling on trains north. Photo: Methodist Church of Mexico.

To address the flow of migrants from Central America and other parts of the world at the U.S. southern border, UMCOR supports organizations that offer temporary places to stay, food, clothing and assistance with travel arrangements.

UMCOR supports ministries in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, known as the Northern Triangle that offer alternatives to migration. They resettle internally displaced people and people returning from the U.S., either voluntarily or by deportation.

Partners in this work receiving grants in 2021 include the United Methodist Mission in Honduras and Casa Allianza, both in Tegucigalpa. In El Salvador, case management and humanitarian assistance have been supported through Cristosal, Comcavis Trans and Servicio Social Pasionista in San Salvador.

UMCOR has partnered with Church World Service for refugee resettlement work since CWS’s founding in 1946. Recently, UMCOR awarded two grants to extend a case management and resettlement model to asylum seekers in three cities in the U.S. These grants include funds to build the capacity of shelters across the southern border. A third grant to CWS is designated for resettling Afghan evacuees among 23 refugee and immigration offices spread across 17 states.

National Justice for Our Neighbors is finishing its second year of a three-year $1 million UMCOR-funded project to assist low-income individuals who have a fear of returning to their country of origin with legal relief, asylum or other alternatives. UMCOR also provides annual budgetary support of $1.2 million for the NJFON office.

In regions where refugees and migrants congregate in camps or have unmet needs or gaps in services, UMCOR supports various organizations to meet these needs, such as CWS in Una-Sana Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Micah House and the Anglican Diocese of Ontario in Canada, which all received grants this year.

Grants to support livelihoods and education for migrants have been awarded to a partner in Afghanistan, United Mission Nepal and Church World Service in Jakarta, Indonesia.

A legal orientation program held in Nogales, Mexico, to help asylum seekers understand U.S. immigration law and the slim chance of qualifying for asylum in the U.S. today, sponsored by Arizona JFON and UMCOR. Photo: Arizona JFON 
A legal orientation program held in Nogales, Mexico, to help asylum seekers understand U.S. immigration law and the slim chance of qualifying for asylum in the U.S. today, sponsored by Arizona JFON and UMCOR. Photo: Arizona JFON.

Venezuela has seen an exodus of millions of people trying to escape violence, insecurity and threats as well as lack of food, medicine and essential services. Methodist churches in South America are responding to this influx of Venezuelan migrants and UMCOR has supported their efforts to provide shelter, children’s programing, livelihoods and transitional support. Partners in this work include the Methodist churches of Peru, Colombia and Brazil.

People trafficked for labor and sexual exploitation require special care in resettlement or repatriation. UMCOR supports three UMC-based anti-trafficking ministries, one in the Manila Episcopal Area, Philippines; one with United Methodist Women in the Liberia Episcopal Area; and one with the Kenyan United Methodist Church in Busia, Kenya.

excerpt from a story by Christie R. House, consultant editor and writer, Global Ministries and UMCOR.

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR Sunday calls United Methodists to share the goodness of life with those who hurt. Your gifts to UMCOR Sunday lay the foundation for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to share God’s love with communities everywhere. The special offering underwrites UMCOR’s “costs of doing business.” This helps UMCOR to keep the promise that 100 percent of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs.

When you give generously on UMCOR Sunday, you make a difference in the lives of people who hurt. Give now.