by David Cassidy, Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tn

The refugee crisis in our world today is an important moment for Christian action. We see in the face of thousands fleeing from violence the reflection of Christ himself. The Savior was in his childhood a refugee in Egypt, escaping the terror of the Herodian power that sought his death. We must not forget this part of the Christmas narrative!

For centuries Christians have practiced radical hospitality, opening our doors to those in need – whether the homeless in our streets or the needy of the world.

I urge you to continue this loving and compassionate approach. One way you can do so is by supporting the work of Siloam Family Health. Siloam has a beautiful history of caring for those in need, especially refugees settling in the Nashville area.

Siloam emerged from humble beginnings, but with a big vision. In 1989, a group of members at Nashville’s Belmont Church were captivated by a holistic vision of the Kingdom of God which made a real difference in real-world problems. They heard God’s calling to develop a biblical and ecumenical solution for people with limited resources who were falling through the cracks of the conventional health care system. In 1991, springing from this vision, Siloam Family Health Center was born.

Siloam began as a tiny, volunteer-driven, primary care clinic in the Edgehill neighborhood. Today it is a vibrant, health ministry with a beautiful 12,000 square foot facility, a staff of 39, over 300 volunteers, dozens of collaborating partners, and roughly 5,000 individual patients who come from all over Middle Tennessee. Siloam’s mission remains steadfast and its commitment to provide quality, whole-person health care addressing the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social determinants of health has not wavered.

Since it accepts no regular insurance or federal reimbursement for indigent care, it depends on the generous contributions of our community. Patients contribute towards the cost of care according to their capacity, but no one is turned away because of inability to pay.

Siloam has also found itself on the leading edge of a quiet transformation in our city. The recent economic prosperity and outward growth of the “New Nashville,” has coincided with a steady influx of immigrants and refugees to our city from all over the world. Today, one in eight residents of Davidson County is foreign born. Starting with one Vietnamese refugee patient in the early 1990’s, Siloam has developed trusting relationships with numerous ethnic communities through a commitment to affordable, high quality, and culturally sensitive care. Today Siloam is a magnet not just for longtime Nashvillians, but also for a diverse array of our neediest new neighbors from over 80 different nations.

Please visit .SILOAMHEALTH to learn more about this vital ministry to our newest neighbors. Note especially the Refugee Health Promotion page and check the video “An Ordinary Day” for an important and moving glimpse into the work of Siloam in the unfolding refugee crisis.

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