Church World Service holds ‘Together We Welcome’ gathering, starts new ‘Welcome Backpacks’ collection

In two new efforts related to Church World Service (CWS) work for refugees, immigrants, migrants, and most recently Afghan evacuees, the ecumenical humanitarian organization has announced “Together We Welcome: A National Faith Gathering to Strengthen Support for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants” and a new “Welcome Backpack” kit.

Together We Welcome

Taking place as a virtual event from 6-9 p.m. (Eastern time) on Nov. 7-11, “Together We Welcome” will train and equip local faith leaders, community organizers, and immigrant community leaders in welcoming refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced populations. It will be offered in both English and Spanish.

“CWS along with our Faith Solidarity Team would like to invite faith leaders, clergy, community organizers and immigrant leaders to join us for this dynamic and inaugural event to hear from impacted voices as well as timely and relevant information about resettlement and migration from faith leaders, national and local resettlement staff, and other experts in forced migration,” said a description of the event. “Attendees will learn, share with one another, build relationships and walk away with specific actions to foster welcome in their local communities.”

The conference will feature four key tracks with over 32 sessions, plenary sessions with keynote speakers, opportunities for formal and informal networking, and a virtual Expo hall to meet with local resettlement offices, denominational staff, and other experts in the field.

Church World Service celebrates its 75th anniversary with an online party, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m (Eastern time). Go to

The four tracks will be:

Advocacy: Why is Advocacy important? Can it change hearts and minds?

Asylum: What are the current processes for asylum and resettlement?

Resettlement: How can faith communities most effectively respond?

Climate: How is climate change impacting migration and displacement?

Find out more and register at

Welcome backpacks

“In the coming months, tens of thousands of refugees will make their way to the United States after years of waiting,” said an announcement of the new Welcome Backpacks kit collection, which CWS noted is for those entering the country to join family members, and asylum seekers at the US southern border, among others.

CWS is partnering with 17 border shelters that receive asylum seekers released from Border Patrol or ICE, providing them with food and shelter and arranging transportation for them to reunite with their families.

“Often, refugees or asylum seekers come with few material possessions–and we will be there to welcome them into their new communities. CWS Welcome Backpacks are a new part of the process–providing unaccompanied minors and families with the essentials for their transition: food and water, children’s activities, a blanket, basic hygiene items, and PPE. You can help extend welcome by assembling backpacks or sponsoring a backpack to be assembled.”

For information about contents of the new Welcome Backpack kit and how to assemble, pack, and ship them, go to

Please note that at this time, this new kit is not yet being received at the Brethren Service Center but must go to CWS at its address in Elkhart, Ind.


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