Bethel’s Resettlement Ministry anxiously awaits the arrival of our newest refugee family. Bethel members can help in this effort: lists of items to purchase and donate will be made available at worship on Sunday as needed. Bethel’s Resettlement Ministry is three years old and has sponsored eleven Bhutanese families as of summer 2013. These more than 40 people look much like all Bethel families and include young parents with pre-schoolers, grandparents with adult children and a single mother with sons.
As a sponsoring church, Bethel helps them learn how to live in this country, connecting them to support systems both within and without the church. Most importantly, we are their friends. Bhutan is north of India and is bordered by India and Tibet. In the mid-1980’s the government launched a policy of “Bhutanization” for the whole country. The traditional dress, language and worship of the southern Bhutanese people were outlawed in favor of the ethnicity of the majority.
Southern Bhutanese suffered human rights violations and loss of land and citizenship, causing thousands to flee their country. Many have lived in
in refugee camps for nearly 20 years.
The camps are now being closed by the UN and the people resettled in various countries. Bethel continues to welcome these families and invites you to join us in welcoming them.
Lutheran World Relief (LWR) works closely with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in resettling refugees in many places around the world. Through LWR and Lutheran Social Services (LSS), Bethel became aware of the situation in Bhutan, one of the most grave and protracted refugee situations in the world today. Since 2009, Bethel has helped to relocate some of these refugees and continues a relationship with these families.
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