On Saturday, February 10, VTS hosted a wonderful event, a dinner for refugee families. The refectory team did a beautiful job providing a halal meal that was delicious. There were over 160 people present.
This is an emerging ministry of Christ Church, Alexandria, done "on the side" on a shoe-string budget, that is a great demonstration of dynamic, emergent partnership. CC partners with Catholic Charities, Alexandria City offices for housing, and other organizations and churches (including Hope UCC and Good Shepherd ELCA) to bring together people who want to invest time, money, and talent in helping approved refugee families get their feet under them, begin to make sense of this complex American society, find resources and opportunities, navigate various challenges, and find community.
VTS is delighted to join with this dynamic network. We were thrilled to host the event and provide an opportunity for 27 VTS students, faculty, and family members to meet these refugee families.
Key people involved included Melanie Grey (social ministries director at CC), Jon Musser, Zeyneb Sayilgan, and me -- and students who volunteered, including students whose TPM501 placement are with CC's Lazarus Ministry, ALIVE!, and Carpenter's Shelter in Old Town Alexandria. Benjamin Judd and the entire Meriwether-Godsey team deserve extra kudos for their amazing hospitality and excellent food.
This is a great example of how VTS can enter vigorously into Church and Community Engagement, and model for the Church how such partnerships can develop.
The Rev. David T. Gortner, Ph.D. Associate Dean of Church and Community Engagement and Professor of Evangelism and Congregational Leadership