"Unsheltered" event discusses the process of being a refugee

"Unsheltered" event discusses the process of being a refugee

Attendees at the panel on February 7, 2017.

photo by Tammy Rockwell

At the beginning of February Lee University hosted a series of panels called “Unsheltered: A Christian Response to the Refugee Crisis" on Feb. 7, 2017.

The first event of the month was “The Process of Being a Refugee," this event and the others were conducted by Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, Director of Faculty Development, and Dr. Murl Dirksen, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology.

Guest speaker Chelsea Markham Lyle, from Office of Immigrant Services at Catholic Charities, stated that she hoped to raises awareness for the process that a lot of these people go through.

“To just let people know that it is not as easy as it might seem,” Lyle said.

Lyle has a Degree in Immigration/International Law from Regent University School of Law, substantiating her lecture on the journey refugees take from their homes to resettlement here in the US.

“Personally I don’t think we are in such danger as the media portrays us to be in, as our borders are going to be flooded and how no one knows who is coming across,” Lyle said. “It really is a strict process that works and we have to make sure it works.”

Education is key according to Lyle.

“It is important that the church, schools, and individuals get out and start educating the population that is not educated on the refugees that are coming over,” she said.

Michael Fuller, a Professor of Biblical Studies, aids in the Biblical response to the refugee crisis.

“It is not just about the spirt, it is not just about heaven, it is about the body, it is about doing something redemptive in the present,” Fuller stated, concerning a ministry view on the matter.

He said he would enjoy seeing students open up their idea of what ministry is, and to see something broader than the narrow understanding of ministry.

“As in, actually working for Social Services and charitable organizations as a way of fulfilling the mission of Christ, whether it is for refugees or whom ever it might be,” said Fuller.

If students are looking to make a difference in this critical point of immigration, Lyle urged them to get involved at Catholic Charities and local refugee services.

Lyle said Catholic Charities always welcomes volunteers.

“First and foremost I think it is awareness of the refugees around you, of people being relocated, of friends and where they have come from, and harboring a relationship with the refugee population,” Lyle said. “Whether they be Christian, Muslim, non-religious, Jewish, or whatever they might be, just knowing that the way to create peace in America is by opening your arms and your mind to people that aren’t like you.”

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