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|Title: ||Hospitality to the stranger : the experience of Christian Churches in the resettlement of African refugees to the United States|
|Authors: ||Kilps, Jennifer|
|Supervisors: ||Aguilar, Mario I.|
|Issue Date: ||2008|
|Abstract: ||This thesis explores the role of constituent congregations of Church World
Service (CWS) in the process of resettling refugees in the U.S. It is based upon case
studies built around a series of interviews conducted with members of three
congregations who sponsored African families for resettlement in Minnesota.
Reflecting upon the experiences of those interviewed, the discourse considers the
efficacy of refugee resettlement as a means for Christian congregations to extend
hospitality to strangers.
The thesis explores the broader theme of Christian hospitality as a particular
activity of the church. Hospitality is approached using the scriptural theme of
welcoming the stranger as it is taken up by contemporary theologians. Christine Pohl,
author of Making Room, is regarded as a leading authority on hospitality. Much of
her research is based on the work of Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche
communities. This thesis suggests that Pohl’s treatment lacks both a usable
definition of hospitality and a sufficient theological framework in which to locate it.
In redressing these omissions, Pohl’s work is examined in light of Vanier in order to
establish an understanding of what comprises a particularly Christian approach to
Finally, the thesis proposes that as hospitality is understood as an act instituted
by the person of Christ and imbued by the Holy Spirit, it is to be considered an act
constitutive of the Church itself. Therefore it is an act necessary to the life of the
Church as the Body of Christ. While contemporary research engages with hospitality
as such an act, little work has been undertaken how it can be applied at the
congregational level. CWS’s model of refugee sponsorship provides congregations
with the tangible means by which they may offer hospitality to strangers.|
|Publisher: ||University of St Andrews|
|Appears in Collections:||Divinity Theses|
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