Refugees & New Arrivals

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See also 'Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders'

 

Australia and New Zealand are multi-cultural countries, and the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) is a multi-cultural church. There are now a significant number of Lutheran congregations that are blessed with people of a refugee background joining them in worship and wider congregational life.

We welcome them and, in addition to inviting them to join us for worship, wish to assist them in settling into their new life here. We feel privileged to do this, since our own church was built to a large extent by people fleeing from religious persecution in Europe.

We offer a number of services within the LCA that assist refugees:

Lutheran Community Care (SA/NT District)

Lutheran Community Care SA/NT (LCC SA/NT) delivers a wide range of services for people of a refugee background under the Federal Government’s Settlement Grants Project. The New Neighbours Settlement Support program assists refugees who have been in Australia for six months to five years.

Refugee services available through LCC (SA/NT) include:

  • casework – information, advice, advocacy
  • specialised support for isolated women from a refugee background
  • Afghan youth engagement program
  • volunteer tutoring for adult learners from a refugee background
  • mentoring program for new arrivals interested in volunteering as a pathway to employment
  • social support groups Information about life in Australia and mainstream services
  • internet and computer room in Murray Bridge where clients can use the computers and broadband access free of charge
  • volunteer tutoring for adult learners from a refugee background
  • new arrivals financial literacy and support.

LCC (SA/NT) offers a wide range of other services to new arrivals. These include:

  • Emergency Relief: financial and material assistance in the form of clothing, food, blankets and household goods for people in immediate need
  • Counselling: for personal, family or relationship challenges and problems
  • Financial Counselling: assistance with planning a budget, consumer rights, negotiating with creditors, concession eligibility, debt recovery and bankruptcy
  • Christmas Hampers: Christmas gifts provided to children and hampers to families on low incomes. Registrations open in November. Hallal hampers are available.
  • Parenting Support: parenting programs, support groups and playgroups for families with children 0-12 years held at the Ingle Farm Family Zone Hub.

For further information contact LCC (SA/NT):
phone 08 8269 9300
email newneighbours@lccare.org.au
website www.lccare.org.au/refugee-services.htm

African Mission and Ministry (Vic/Tas District)

The support for refugees is from within the individual congregations, with additional resources coordinated and provided by the state coordinator, the Community Development Facilitator. This model ensures that both the mission and ministry aspects of their lives are nurtured and empowered. Currently the African community is the largest growing refugee culture within the Victorian and Tasmanian congregations.

Through the development of partnerships, training, education, mentors, volunteers and the Christian faith, the capacity of the refugee community is strengthened. Programs are developed based on specific needs, through consultation with the congregations and the community in which they live.

The Community Development Facilitator is the first point of contact for any questions relating to African ministry and community support. The current Community Development Facilitator is Pamela Dalgliesh.

For further information, contact Pamela Dalgliesh:
Phone: 03 9236 1200 or 0488333535
Email: pamela.dalgliesh@vic.lca.org.au
Website: www.vic.lca.org.au/vic/default.html

Community Development Facilitator (Vic/Tas District)

The Community Development Facilitator (CDF) works within the Council for Ministry Support and Council for Lutheran Community Care in the LCA's Victoria/Tasmania District. The CDF works directly with the Pastor for Congregational Support and the pastors and members of congregations with African communities. In addition, the CDF works closely with the African Ministry and Mission Reference Group.

The CDF is the first point of contact for any questions that people in the Victoria/Tasmania District may have in relation to African ministry and community support. The current CDF is Dr Pamela Dalgliesh.

For further information, contact Pamela:
Phone: 03 9236 1200
Email: pamela.dalgliesh@vic.lca.org.au
Website: www.vic.lca.org.au/vic/default.html

African Sewing Group (SA/NT District)

Every Friday, and Wednesday night, during school terms, volunteer sewing teachers get together with refugee women to teach them how to sew. This provides a skill for the women, as well as social support for women who are at risk of being isolated in their new country.

A bus service run by volunteers collects the women from around Adelaide and brings them to the church hall at Good News Lutheran Church, Albert Park. Volunteers provide lunch for the group and run a crèche to look after any preschool children who come along with their mothers.

Contributions of fabric and other sewing needs are also welcomed, as is financial support.

For further information, contact the sewing group coordinator, Mrs Helen Semmler:
Phone: 08 8370 2499
Email: khsemmler@ozemail.com.au

Australian Lutheran World Service (national)

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is the overseas aid and resettlement agency of the LCA. The resettlement component of its work relates to the support we provide to refugees and others 'at risk' who have come to Australia under the Australian government's Humanitarian Migration Program. The primary means of assistance is the provision of loans through two revolving loan funds; these have operated for well over 20 years. The purposes for which the loans are given fall into three categories:

1.    Helping refugees and displaced settle into Australia

Many people come to Australia with very little and it is difficult for them to buy even the basics necessary to set up a new home and meet essential expenditures. These loans assist with initial household needs.

2.    Helping reunite families

These loans assist sponsors to meet the costs of airfares for family members who have been granted visas under the Australian government’s Humanitarian Program.

3.    Getting established in Australia

There are many refugees who struggle to establish a livelihood in Australia, despite having skills and ability to make a contribution to their new country. One of the major stumbling blocks is access to capital funds that will enable them to establish a small business. ALWS makes loans available for business purposes to entrants under the Humanitarian Program.

For further information about loans and to obtain an application form, contact ALWS:
Phone: 1300 763 407
Email: alws@alws.org.au
Website: www.alws.org.au/australia-2.html