I found myself inspired today by the Presbyterians at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Munster, Indiana. I sit on the Mission Team for the Presbytery and one of the great privileges of being on this team is that I get to help distribute Our Presbytery’s mission money to churches when they come up with a great mission project. Our church applied to this Mission Team last year for financial assistance with our Presbyterian Basketball league at Beardsley School. The money they gave us helped us with the purchase of jerseys, supplies and year end gifts for the kids.
So this morning we reviewed a grant from the Westminster Church to help with a ministry called the Welcome Network. The Welcome Network is a Christian based non-profit whose mission is to caringly provide practical resources, spiritual mentoring and real community to internationally-born residents of Northwest Indiana. They are literally welcoming the stranger to this country and helping them find friends and make a home among us. The Bible has a whole host of verses about our Christian responsibility to welcome strangers and foreigners among us. One of my favorites verses is from Heb. 13: 2. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
The Westminster Church is putting these words into action by joining hands with six other congregations in the area who work together to support the Welcome Network ministry. The grant application came today because these seven congregations have been helping to purchase and refurbish a home that will be able to house three families for 6 – 12 months as they make a new beginning in our country. The grant request reminded me of a similar ministry in the Elkhart church many years ago. Gladys Cone and her husband, Palmer, were very involved in helping immigrant families get a start in this country years ago. Their team was instrumental in bringing over several families that could not have managed the cost and transition alone. Some of those immigrants even became members of our church. The Presbytery Mission team today unanimously approved the grant, and it now goes to Council which I expect will also approve the grand, so we Presbyterians across Wabash Valley Presbytery may join in this fine Mission effort. These are some of your mission dollars at work!
We are all called to welcome the stranger among us. Who needs welcoming in your circle of influence?
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