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Update from the IRU (Immigration, Refugee, and Undocumented Persons) Discovery Team

The IRU Discovery Team has been busy despite the obstacles of not being able to meet in person. Since its formation in late February, the main focus has been on education and support of Casa San Jose, a community resource center that empowers Latinos by promoting integration and self-sufficiency.


Strangers in the Land---This study, which was open to all members of BHCC, was held for six weeks on Zoom. While it did offer some statistics and facts, it was mainly a spiritual study about why as Christians we are called to care for the stranger. The six topics discussed were as follows:

All persons are made in the image of God

Our biblical ancestors were refugees and immigrants

The Bible calls us to practice hospitality

The Bible calls us to care for sojourners in our midst

Christ commissions us to love our neighbors

We, as Christians, are sojourners traveling in this land

Welcoming the Stranger---This study is being held on Zoom by Westminster Presbyterian Church. They graciously allowed five of us to attend (Linda James, Betsy Hohlfelder, Darenda Lease, Sarah Neusius and Theresa Child). It was a three-week study (at the time of this writing, the group has attended the first two weeks). The three topics are as follows:

How did we get to this point? --an overview of the progression of immigration laws

The current situation--a look at the current laws and executive orders that are in affect now

Doing our part--a presentation from Sister Janice from Casa San Jose discussing their work

Support for Casa San Jose:

Monetary--Through the Mission Committee, $1,000 was donated to Casa San Jose to be used for food and other supplies.

Supplies--Casa San Jose helps provide food each week for the people they support. The food is provided by the food bank, but items like diapers and cleaning supplies are not. A drive for these items was held by the Mission Committee in July.

Summer Day Camp--Each year, Casa San Jose holds a summer day camp where they take the children to different locations in Pittsburgh. This year, the day camp was held on Zoom. Sarah Neusius was one of the presenters, and she created two sessions about archaeology--one for younger children and one for older children.

The IRU team will continue to look for ways to address the issues faced by immigrants, refugees and undocumented persons. If you would like to help or have any suggestions, please contact Linda James.

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