The Board of Deacons and the Adult Education Committee are pleased to announce our annual Lenten Dinner & Speaker Series.
- On four Thursday evenings during Lent, all are invited to this series that explores a topic of contemporary interest – this year our theme is: “The Refugee Experience”.
- Each evening program includes dinner at 6 pm followed by the program that concludes at 7:30 pm. There will be a suggested contribution for dinner, but all are welcome regardless of ability to pay.
- Please watch our church publications, website and Facebook for further details.
The Lenten Series: “The Refugee Experience – Walking a mile in the shoes of our new American neighbors”:
Thursday, February 21, 6 pm: “Perspectives on Refugee Resettlement in Vermont”: Executive Director of the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV), Jacob Bogre, and AALV Board Member, Lusenge “Emmanuel” Siriwayo, of AALV will discuss current challenges faced by refugees settling in Vermont and a vision for the future as their organization becomes multi-cultural in mission. Many of you may know Emmanuel, as he has worked on our evening and Saturday Church Staff for many years. Emmanuel was a founding member of AALV.
Thursday, March 7, 6 pm: “Legal and Educational Issues – Refugees & the New American Community”: First Church member and deacon Amy Mellencamp, Principal of Burlington High School, will be joined by other panelists to discuss community services that are vital to new Americans.
Thursday, March 14, 6 pm: “The Vermont Ibutwa Initiative”: First Church member Kyendamina “Cleophace” Mukeba will discuss what he learned about the needs of people in his homeland when he returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this past July for a fact-finding mission trip sponsored by the newly formed Vermont Ibutwa Initiative (VIBI). Cleophace will be joined by First Church VIBI Board members, Susan Saunders, Lucy Samara and Kristen Connors who will discuss VIBI’s evolving program goals in the South Kivu region of the DRC and their educational goals in the U.S.
Thursday, March 21, 6 pm: “Cultural Perspectives from Bhutan, Somalia, Rwanda, Iraq and the Congo”: Panelists will include new Americans from several countries including Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, and Jean Luc Dushime, who was born in Rwanda and raised in the DRC. Dushime, who is currently traveling in Africa, will share his experiences as a new American. A professional photographer, Dushime is particularly interested in assisting new Americans in sharing their story. Jean Luc says: “It takes strength to build a life, it takes even more faith and hope to rebuild it again.” You can see some of his photography at: http://www.dushimejeanluc.com