On Sunday, June 14, Lutheran Services of Georgia celebrated World Refugee Day with the 2nd Annual Breaking Bread and Building Bridges Potluck Dinner at Rock of Ages Lutheran Church. Participants engaged in guided conversations around the table, listened to clips of refugee stories recorded by StoryCorps, and enjoyed a delicious meal.
This year, LSG introduced the Bridge Awards, intended to honor those who work to build bridges between people from many cultures. LSG congratulates the recipients of this year's Bridge Awards.
Refugee Storytellers: Refugees received Bridge Awards for sharing their stories with LSG through StoryCorps.
- Jules Gakuru (Democratic Republic of Congo)
- Gashore Nizeyimana (Democratic Republic of Congo)
- Nebi Germay (Eritrea)
- Muhyadin Kalib (Somalia)
- Bal Dahal (Bhutan)
Volunteers: LSG also gave out Bridge Awards to exceptional volunteers.
- Jenelle Holmes: Jenelle is a Emory/Candler School of Theology volunteer who served as a refugee family mentor and assistant in the Extended Cultural Orientation class. She lives with her family in Azealia Village, her church's transitional housing for refugee families.
- Ed Aebischer: Ed is the co-leader (with Mark Olson) of the Refugee Resettlement team at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Marietta which partnered with LSG to resettle two families in 2014. He is a regular Friends in Hope Visitor to immigrants in detention in Georgia and a Careers & Connections mentor.
- Mark Olson: Mark is the co-leader (with Ed Aebischer) of the Refugee Resettlement team at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Marietta which partnered with LSG for the resettlement of two refugee families in 2014. He's exploring a new partnership between LSG and Rock of Ages Lutheran Church. He serves as an Employment Coach with refugee employment and a Careers & Connections mentor.
- Carmelle Nitereka: Carmelle was LSG's Episcopal Service Corps volunteer in 2014-2015 working with the Match Grant early self-sufficiency program. She's a Friends in Hope visitor to immigrants in detention.
- Pastor Randy Palm: Pr. Randy is the Pastor of Rock of Ages Lutheran Church, LSG's "home away from home" near Clarkston. Pr. Randy is a strong friend and ROA is a strong church partner for LSG--opening their doors to LSG and our refugee friends in so many ways. ROA houses the Refugee Clothing closet and allows LSG to host events large and small, including Breaking Bread and Building Bridges.
Melanie Johnson, LSG's Program Manager for Volunteers, Congregation, and Community Engagement commented, "The best thing about Breaking Bread and Building Bridges are the smiling faces of refugees and community friends as they share conversation around the table while new friendships are forged and an appreciation for cultural diversity is cultivated."
LSG thanks all our supporters, attendees, and clients who made this event a success. To see photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.