Month: December 2020
The Winter Solstice is upon us, December 21, 2020, the shortest day of the year. The day of the most darkness. From ancient times, the Winter Solstice has been marked by rituals focused on waking the sun from its long nap. Fire and light are symbols of this season.
Many of the world’s religions and cultures recognize this time of year with their own celebrations of light: Jews, Hanukkah; Christians, Christmas; African-Americans, Kwanzaa. Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali a month prior to the Winter Solstice.
Where do migrants find light during this time?
Responding to the needs of the 79.5 million displaced persons in the world requires superhuman effort. The heart of West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry is its interfaith, ecumenical basis. Taking care of the universe and its occupants is a responsibility the Creator has given to all the earth’s people, regardless of faith affiliation. We have all been commanded to love God and love neighbor. (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:30-31).
Loving our neighbors is an outward act. We show our love for God and neighbor by concrete actions. These outward acts of love inspire others to follow our examples, not for our self-aggrandizement, but for the glory of God.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16
Where do migrants find light?
Through you and me. Through our donations of time and money. Through our words proclaiming that all people are valuable and deserve basic human rights, such as safety, shelter, nourishment, education, meaning and purpose.
In this season of darkness, shine a light on Love by donating to one of the many organizations working to better the lives of migrants everywhere. A list of religious and other organizations is posted in our Resources section.
Yes, even in a pandemic, one of the craziest years in the past century, we at West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry have reasons for joy.
The two families we serve are thriving. All four adults are employed full time. The six children are involved in school and church activities.
We received a COVID 19 grant from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, which was greatly needed when family members were laid off due to the pandemic.
WVIRM celebrated its first Welcoming Week in which we highlighted immigrant-owned businesses. An ecumenical panel discussion featuring both clergy and lay persons exposed the harms done by racist and xenophobic actions and rhetoric.
Anticipated changes in federal immigration policies should enable WVIRM to do the most we can for those who have the least.
And we are joyful at the continued offerings of time and money from our many supporters. Thank you, and may you be blessed during this holy season.
To read a copy of our annual appeal and report, click the Download button below.