Blessing of Warm Welcome Items

November 12, 2018

By: Melissa Heim, Associate for Community Formation


A worship service in Marquand Chapel on Tuesday, November 6 highlighted refugees and the work of Andover Newton’s mission partner, IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services). IRIS welcomes refugees to the New Haven area and helps with housing, employment, education, and medical services. Ashley Makar, Outreach Coordinator at IRIS and a Yale Divinity School alumna, preached the sermon at the worship service. Sarah Drummond opened the service, speaking of the warm welcome that Andover Newton has received at Yale Divinity School, and the warm welcome that IRIS offers to refugees from all over the world.

Warm hats knitted and crocheted by students and other winter items donated by Andover Newton alums and the Andover Newton at YDS community overflowed the baskets placed in the center of the chapel. Mark Miller, YDS Minister of Music at Christ Church in Summit New Jersey (an ABC and UCC church), composed a special anthem for the service. During the anthem, sung by the Marquand Gospel Choir, folks wrote notes of warm welcome to refugees which they attached to the winter items. At the end of the service, Melissa Heim led the congregation in a prayer of blessing for the winter items which were later delivered to IRIS. The worship service was curated by YDS student Patrick Keyser and Melissa Heim.
Andover Newton’s focus on refugees continues beyond the worship service on November 6, as some of the Emmaus meals have been catered by Sanctuary Kitchen, a local non-profit organization which employs resettled refugees, and Andover Newton students are organizing a group to run in the IRIS 5K Run set for February 3.