860 283-8480
505 South Main Street
Thomaston, Connecticut  06787
New Start Ministry
New Start Ministry
At our 2016 Annual Meeting, our guest speaker was Susan Suhr, a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Woodbury. Susan shared with us an opportunity to support a new ministry that was just getting started in our area.  Its mission was to welcome a refugee family and support them as they began a new life in a nearby community.  Our congregation voted to participate in this ministry.  We decided to contribute $500 to this cause (we also contributed $500 to refugee resettlement camps through Lutheran World Relief); individuals and families were also invited to support this group that became “New Start Ministry.”

A family of three – Khaled and Reem and their almost-two-year-old daughter Elin, arrived from Syria via Turkey on January 3, 2017 to a fully furnished apartment in Waterbury.  Since then, the New Start Ministry team (which includes Pastor G. and Ellie, Amanda Steyer, and the Talbots along with volunteers from nine other faith communities) has been working with and supporting this family as they become acclimated to our culture and language.

When Khaled and Reem arrived here, they had no documents proving that they were married; having this documentation was important in the eyes of the State of Connecticut.  So on May 6, 2017, through the combined efforts of many people from the surrounding community, Pastor Tim Olsen of the Covenant Church in Thomaston  presided over a civil wedding ceremony at B’Nai Israel Synagogue in Woodbury. The B’Nai Israel congregation graciously allowed us to use their space for the ceremony and the celebration that followed. Many individuals and  businesses helped with contributions of wedding clothes, food, and services. The result was a day filled with blessings, a day during which we truly felt that God’s hand was leading us and God’s love supporting us.

And then … just recently, I was looking at a report prepared by the person on our team who is in charge of finances.  Among other things, the report showed the amounts that had been contributed by religious communities that are supporting our family financially.  I knew that we had approved a $500 donation, but hadn’t realized how generously individuals in our congregation had responded to the invitation to assist this young family; the total was more than $2,900!  And so on behalf of New Start Ministry, we say “Thank you!” to everyone at Our Savior Lutheran Church for your prayers, for your interest in hearing about the progress of Khaled and Reem and Elin, and for your awesome generosity!
Sandy Talbot