Jesuit Refugee Service helps communities understand refugee crises and advocate on refugees’ behalf. The Chatham United Methodist Church (CUMC) will host a JRS sponsored refugee camp simulation known as Walk a Mile in My Shoes on Sunday, November 3, 2019 from 2:00-4:00 pm at 460 Main Street Chatham, NJ. 

As the sun rises on hundreds of make-shift camps around the world, more than 70.8 million refugees and internally displaced persons start their day seeking water, food, and shelter to meet the basic needs of their families. Half of the 70.8 million refugees are children. 

CUMC decided to host this simulation as a way of living out our call to love neighbor, care for those in need, and be more Christ-like. Our hope is that anyone who wants to learn more about the plight of refugees, wants to take action, or simply wants to see what Chatham United Methodist Church is about will join us. CUMC is a church community that welcomes the citizen, the immigrant, and the refugee. All are encouraged to participate. Our hope is that the community will take away a better understanding of the plight of refugees, a reminder that we are all God's Beloved Children, and think about the next steps for creating change.

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Participants in this simulation will walk a few steps in the shoes of refugee. As they enter the simulation, participants receive an identity card with the name, country of origin and background of a typical refugee. Throughout the simulation, they assume the role of that refugee, moving between interactive stations that demonstrate various aspects of a refugee’s daily life. Stations include the border, shelter, food, water, medical services, and education. At each station, participants encounter the everyday frustrations and hardships that refugees face. The final part of the simulation allows time for participants to reflect on their experience and to consider ways to advocate for refugee justice. 

The advocacy station at the end of the exercise is an important resource to provide additional information about refugees and to provide ways for the community as a whole to further support refugees. Many former simulation participants continue to be active in JRS/USA’s advocacy programs or have formed JRS Refugee Action Teams. Details on other advocacy methods are available which show how to write effective letters to policymakers, for example. 

To participate in this simulation and or learn more contact Chatham United Methodist Church directly at (973) 635-7740 or visit our website at http://www.chathamumc.com/for more information.