Extending Hospitality to Newly Arrived Migrants – Phillips UMC in Lakewood, Colorado

March 16, 2023
On Sunday, March 12th, 2023, Phillips United Methodist Church’s youth group participated in a creating Welcome Baskets for newly arrived migrants. We give thanks to Phillips UMC’s youth and Darcy Wood, Youth Director, for their ministry and sharing with us their engagement.
Describe your ministry project, lifting up its major components, the demographics of those with whom you served and the goals of the project. 
This year the combined youth group of Phillips UMC and Applewood Valley UMC have utilized the theme, "There's A Door For You".  Within this theme we have explored the ideas of how there are doors for all of God's people in this world.  Our theme led us to the study of, "There's A Door For the Immigrant".  We have seen in the news and possibly in our schools and communities that there has been an influx of immigrants from Central and South America into Denver.  We are seeing recently immigrated students come into our classrooms and schools and we need to understand the reasons behind their immigration to the US, and how we can be welcoming, and envelop them into our beloved community.  

Why was engaging in this project important to you?
This project is important to us because we see that this is an issue in our community where people need to be deeply welcomed.  Our students all attend schools that are quite diverse, and engaging in a project where we are making a transition for new and diverse families to our community a little easier is a great way to be Jesus' hands and feet in our community.  

Where did you see God working/feel God’s presence?
When people, in this case students, know that they are making a direct impact they are more likely to be involved.  We allowed students to listen to stories from Global Missionary, Rev. Dan Randall about his time in Brazil and other countries working with refugees and people seeking asylum.   

What surprised, delighted, or challenged you?
One thing that was challenging was that our students wanted to know more about how to create relationships with other students who have recently joined their school communities. Language barriers create some difficulties, but love is universal!We discussed it taking time to create relationships and build community but know that when we do God's work love is being expressed.

Can other churches implement this project?
Other churches can easily implement this project in their local churches.  I contacted Rev. Betty Nguyen for help, she was very responsive and extremely helpful in getting our youth group connected to the resources that are already doing great work in the immigrant community. It was easier to connect with programs that know what resources and needs are most immediate so that we could help in meaningful ways.