McPherson sponsors refugees from Ukraine

Photos from McPherson Church of the Brethren

McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren reacted with shock and compassion when Russia invaded Ukraine. In August 2022, Nancy Magnall, a member of the Outreach Team, learned about “Uniting for Ukraine,” a program to assist Ukrainian refugees coming to the United States.

We asked, “How big is Jesus’ neighborhood?” The answer was obvious.

The vehicle to move forward was called Welcome.US. It included clear instructions on how to advance the task of bringing refugees to the US. Magnall and her husband, Paul, were eager to submit their information to become sponsors. It was agreed that the Outreach Team would stand in support of them. 

A weekly meeting of interested and supportive people has worked together to assist with finding housing, furnishing homes, providing bicycles for every family member, enrolling children in school, setting up mail delivery, giving tours of the town and community, offering church space for Muslim prayer meetings, obtaining documents like Social Security cards, enrolling in English lessons, and more.

Our first refugee family arrived last December. Before they moved into a house in our community, a family friend in Texas had found a house and job for them and so they moved there. We were glad for them, but the interruption to our efforts caused us to pause. In the meantime, we formed the “McPherson Welcomers,” an official support group with members willing to submit their financial records to become sponsors for additional newcomers. 

In May our next family of four arrived. Soon afterward, another household of two arrived. A third family of three came in June. We expect another family of four to arrive in the next few weeks. McPherson has built a small Ukrainian community. We feel blessed. —Ann Stover

This article originally appeared in Messenger magazine.

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