solidarity and support for refugees...

NOTE: The following letter is one I have crafted in support of Dianne's commitment to supporting Syrian (and other) refugees. Please prayerfully take a look and see where the Spirit leads you. 

November 10, 2017

Dear friends and allies ~

This fall Dianne was we received word Dianne was accepted into the internationally accredited Cambridge English Language Teach to Adults (CELTA )program. Doing this work has long been one of her deepest goals. And now that I am moving closer to retirement – and a change in ministry – she has claimed the call and is moving to make this a reality. For the past 20+ years, Dianne has been my support in ministry; now I want to do everything I can to honor and support her calling to service and creativity.

There is a staggering need for people with skills to assist refugees fleeing Syria and North Africa in their quest for safety and resettlement. This tragedy will continue to claim innocent lives and haunt our collective future for decades to come. Dianne is now ready to use her gifts and abilities to bring a measure of hope and dignity to our sisters and brothers in need. We have long affirmed the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 25: “Whatsoever you do unto one of the least of these, my sisters and brothers, you do unto me.” She puts it like this:

My heart shatters over the massive number of people who have to flee their homes to
escape wars and economic despair. How can I help them? The best, and maybe only, thing I have to contribute is my skill with the English language, as a literature scholar, a writer, an editor, and native speaker. Where can I help the most? The US has sadly been very slow to allow refugees to resettle here. Canada, however, has welcomed some 34,000 refugees since November 2015. So to do the most good in the nearest future, I need to be certified as a teacher of English as a Second Language, with a certificate that is respected both here and in Canada.


The on-line portion of the CELTA training begins in January 2017 with a two-week intensive class in Montreal in May. To date she has raised $730 in donations from a Go Fund Me campaign @ https:// www.gofundme.com/diannedemott. She has also submitted a grant application for financial support to Together Rising @ https:// togetherrising.org/. In support of her calling I have pledged to help raise funds by reaching out to select friends and colleagues. Here is our challenge:

+ Total cost for this training is $3500 (tuition and lodging during the intensive) with $2500 necessary at the end of December. Would you be willing to make a small contribution before January?

+ If yes, please go to the secure donation linke on Dianne’s Go Fund Me account (see above). Any questions or concerns can be sent to Dianne directly at her email: dkdemott@gmail.com. Or if you wish to check in with me, please do so at my email: desertjames@gmail.com.

Our hope is that after her training - and within the next 12-18 months - we will both spend a year of service in Canada upon my full retirement: Dianne helping refugees learn a new language (and acquire social skills in a foreign land) and myself at Jean Vanier’s L’Arche ministry to adults with intellectual disabilities. I will be moving into part-time ministry – and part-time retirement – in Pittsfield as of February 2017, so this is an exciting and faith-filled time for us both. Clearly this work has taken on a new level of urgency for us after the recent US elections. I am grateful for however you might be able to help Di in realizing her new calling in these fear-filled and challenges times.

Grace and peace, 
James



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