Meeting Dr. Gaylord Kambali

Dear Friends,

This Sunday during worship we have the privilege of welcoming Dr. Gaylord Kambali, a physician from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Kambali who became a refugee to Latin America, arrived in the United States as an asylum seeker, and is now a permanent resident of Boise. Stacey Shegrud, an active participant in the life of Wright Church, is bringing Dr. Kambali to us through her work with the Idaho Department of Labor. Stacey has been honored for her work in providing intensive support and career guidance and identifying their skills from their country of origin and aligning them with a career path in the U.S.

On Sunday we will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Kambali, hear his story of life in the DRC, the reasons he became a doctor, and how his work to help others caused him to have to flee for his life as a refugee. We will learn about the process he is working through to receive credentials as a physician in the U.S. and how we can help him.

I will connect his story to the story of The Good Samaritan, which Jesus offered as a response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” As a congregation of the United Church of Christ, we are clear about our biblical understanding of how we are called to respond to the needs of the immigrant and refugee. Below is a summary of our General Synod 2017 Resolution on becoming an immigrant welcoming church.

Thirty-first General Synod of the United Church of Christ
This resolution calls on the United Church of Christ and its congregations to become Immigrant Welcoming as it recognizes the ongoing struggles of refugees and migrants who come to the United States seeking safety, security, freedom and opportunity but instead experience suffering as they fear raids, deportation, and witness their families being torn apart. It further encourages the development of policies to facilitate this.
Our Jewish and Christian traditions honor the text from Leviticus 19:33-34 (adapted from 23 NRSV): “When an immigrant resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the immigrant. The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the immigrant as yourself, for you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” In Matthew 25 Jesus speaks of those who will receive the kingdom: “When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat,
and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger you welcomed me…” Jesus also says (Mark 12:31, NRSV) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This resolution is in keeping with the commitment of the United Church of Christ to provide an extravagant welcome to all God’s Children. As negative stereotyping of immigrants increases, becoming an “immigrant welcoming” church provides a critical alternative witness rooted in Biblical and theological principles the United Church of Christ deeply values.

Please join us on Sunday with your hearts and minds open to hear how God is calling us to respond to the needs of our neighbors.

Together in Christ,

Pastor Kathy

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