Choosing Welcome

C. Anderson James Congregations 2 Comments

In the heart of the busiest weeks of the election season, Hillsborough, North Carolina, drew attention from around the world as the county Republican headquarters was firebombed and heavily damaged. In those same busy days, though, one part of that same community stepped in to offer a word of hope in the weariness of these days.

Hillsborough Church Chooses WelcomeThis summer, in response to the worldwide refugee crisis and particularly the struggles of Syrian refugees, Hillsborough Presbyterian Church partnered with the Durham office of Church World Service and began in earnest to help people whose lives literally have been a “hell on wheels” for five or more years to find new and peaeful life in the North Carolina Triangle.

On October 16, Hillsborough Presbyterian Church welcomed the 12 members of the second and third refugee families—both of them Syrian, as was the first family in July—to a banquet to welcome them to the community. The congregation is cosponsoring these two families this fall, furnishing their apartments, helping them to learn English and U.S. culture(s), assisting with getting children enrolled in schools, and helping them find doctors, grocery stores, and a myriad of other things necessary to quickly becoming productive members of American society.

Alongside the shocking and horrific firebombing in Hillsborough, the good news is that God’s peace will prevail anyway. Seeing and hearing American and Syrian children dissolve with laughter as they played “Duck, Duck, Goose”—in Arabic, no less—while the same joy showed in their parents’ and grandparents’ eyes as they watched, proved God’s love and sovereignty beyond any doubt.

Submitted by Bernie Nord, Hillsborough Presbyterian Church.

Comments 2

  1. Refugees are arriving in the North Carolina Triangle communities in rapidly increasing numbers, largely due to the President’s action to increase the quota of refugees escaping the crises in Syria. We would love to know of other congregations in Orange and Durham counties who are doing refugee resettlement and/or who may be interested in joining with us in a Presbyterian resettlement coalition that would multiply our resources and the number of “hands on” volunteers in order to better address the challenge. You may contact me at or 919-563-3074. Many thanks.
    –Bernie Nord

  2. I am so glad that the church is helping these families from the war-torn horror that is Syria. And blessings to their sponsors.
    Some years ago, the Presby. church I attended in Richmond sponsored a family from Vietnam. It was really interesting to learn to know them and help them through the adjustments to the USA. The mother surprised us by growing bean sprouts in the lid to her garbage can. She surprised (at least me) when we were boating at a church retreat and she very deftly caught and restrained a white duck that came up beside the boat. (Have always thought that under other circumstances that duck would have been dinner…)

    Hearing about their day-to-day “adventures” is what makes these stories interesting to me.

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