April has been a busy and exciting month! I am so proud of all of us! We had a great kickoff to our Pledge Drive, welcomed six new members, had a staffed table at the local Earth Day celebration to promote our Environmental Film Festival, and we created and implemented an amazing program to support Ukrainian Refugees. Whew!
Since I was most involved with the Ukrainian Refugee Program, I particularly want to call out all the volunteers who have made it happen. In about ten days, we went from recognizing an urgent need to welcoming our first refugees. We have hosted ten people - all of them chased from their homes by the war in Ukraine. As I write this, our family of six has left to be with their sponsor in Cleveland. We still have three adults and one child staying in the two-story building.
I have been so impressed by our support and volunteerism. Thank you to the Task Force - Rev. Sian, Tracey D., Briana M., Debra Q., Meg W., Judith S., and Tatiana H. and me! They provided the organization and flexibility to make this happen. Thank you to the 40-50 of you who contributed bedding, air mat-tresses, food, driving, on-site mentoring, and just wanted to do whatever was needed. We are so awesome!
Although we envisioned this program ending when we were ready to demolish the building for our new sanctuary, it may be over by May. The State Department changed the process for immigration by Ukrainians and shut down their border crossings on April 25th. The new program is better organized and will suit everyone’s needs in a more organized fashion. We are still concerned about those who may have been caught in the transition.
Thank you, thank you, to everyone who makes our congregation happen! This month, I am especially grateful.
Nancy Loughrey is Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church's Board President.