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MEETING MINUTES: Asylum, Refugee, Immigration Task Force

by | Oct 25, 2022 | Immigration Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Rev. Stephen Govett, chair; Billie Fidlin, staff; Flor, David, Janelle, Gretchen

Updates:

Dayspring/Paola:

  • Billie share Paola’s email.

Pastor Flor at Central UMC:

  • They are striving to be a place for people to rest and restorative of dignity and humanity. About 100 ppl each week. Services: a hot meal, shower, change of clothes, find ticket, sponsor contact, airport transportation. They can stay up to three days if needed. Most speak Spanish and are told in Spanish they are safe there. Prayer is offered in an interfaith name of the Holy. Volunteers are primarily bi-lingual. The heart of the people who are serving is notable and while the workload is tough, no one complains. In general, the ministry is going well. A new ministry is growing among those who stay in Phoenix. Flor is the missional consultant for Central. They also help with finding legal services, schools, health programs, general services, and housing.

Pastor David:

  • David wants to connect his ministry. Right now they aren’t engaged in work. Over the summer David was informed asylum seekers have to discard their belongings. David says that the people are either in detention centers or as many as 72% plus backlog cases are sent back to their native country. IE – what we see on the news about Yuma is not accurate.

Janelle – East Valley/Timote’s Ministry:

  • Janelle is helping in general with Timote’s ministry. The lead there – Sepi is doing a good job. Janelle asked what Central needs – Flor will check with Jeanette / Brandon on what the ministry needs to get back to her. Janelle (Gilbert) – they have also been helping with Timote’s ministry on this. Clothes pantry, general supplies, and a recent influx of medical team. Shoelaces are sometimes confiscated, sometimes not. (Flor) Right now Janelle is the only person from Gilbert at this time – but she sees that interest is being interested and people are donating items. Gilbert’s mission team will do a full drive after the first of the New Year. Interpreters are needed (Spanish). Flor and David both offered help/guidance.

Stephen UUMC:

  • Nothing is happening with asylees. Two groups work with refugees – Catholic Charities and an African community center. The latter is easier to work with. Vegas is the largest employer of refugees – mostly the casinos. There are many young families – currently, UUMC ex-teachers are helping the families get kids registered for school as well as supplying school supplies.

Gretchen – The Inn in Tuscon:

  • Currently, they have moved from the hotel to a different hotel. They are connected with the county as an awardee, which has resulted in funding. Now they can utilize 40 rooms – so 80 – up to 130 people a night. They need more volunteers – between COVID and people who want to be in a church setting – prayers that will evolve as the families still need the support. They also have staff positions to fill as well. Billie suggested putting the job openings in the district newsletter. She does have a couple of applicants – if those don’t work out then she will put them in the conference district newsletter.

Stephen will reach out to Timote about meeting participation; Billie will reach out to Paola; Janelle will reach out to Sepi. David will reach out to the Yuma mayor about what’s happening.

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Author: Billie K. Fidlin

Billie K. Fidlin is the Director of Outreach & Justice for the Desert Southwest Conference. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and attended Claremont School of Theology for religious studies. Ms. Fidlin currently serves as the President of the Arizona Faith Network in her second term. She is President & Founder of Whisper n Thunder Inc., and sits on various boards including the Justa Center and the Phoenix Police Department's Faith Advisory Council. Her awards include the UM Foundation for Evangelism 2004 Distinguished Evangelist; 2016 Church Women United / United Nations Human Rights Award; 2018 Servant Leader Award AZ Faith Network; 2022 Southern Poverty Law Center Certificate of Recognition; and 2022-23 Class of Who's Who in America.
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