Overview and History
Serving the World in our Neighborhood
World Relief began offering services in DuPage County in 1979 and then opened an additional office in Aurora in 1999. We are a Christ-centered organization that partners with local churches and works with hundreds of individuals as well as community groups to offer a comprehensive range of services to refugees and immigrants living in DuPage and Kane Counties.
The goal is to empower the local Church to serve the most vulnerable, and to see refugees, immigrants and members of their communities become fully-functioning, integrated participants in society. Each year in partnership with the Church, World Relief DuPage/Aurora helps more than 5,000 clients, 90% of who are low income.
To learn more about our services to refugees and immigrants, click here.
Partnering with the Local Church
World Relief values the local Church as a primary agent of bringing peace, justice and love to a broken world. We believe the Church offers hope and life, and the best context for working with the poor in overcoming their lack of opportunity. The local Anglo church, with their ability to meet spiritual, social and physical needs, and the local Ethnic church, with their understanding of culture and the immigrant experience, can together restore relationships and develop communities. The integrated “word” and “deed” dimensions of God’s mandate are necessary to bringing reconciliation and restoration to God, others and the environment.
To learn more about how we partner with the local Church, click here.
Valuing Cross-Cultural Relationships
Though refugee families naturally have many needs when they first arrive that are met by churches and volunteers, their own ethnic community, the government and World Relief, these one-sided services must eventually transition to mutually-beneficial relationships. Refugees must soon learn to stand on their own, which requires all of us to step back and teach, rather than do for them. When we do for others what they must learn to do for themselves, we can unintentionally further erode their dignity (and hinder their long-term adjustment to American life).
We long to see genuine relationships form between Americans and their new neighbors. The foremost biblical mandate that defines this call is to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22.39). In following through on Jesus’ command to love across racial bounds, and in order to form authentic, cross-cultural relationships, we must grapple with and uphold the following values:
- Reciprocity and Interdependence: giving and receiving in equal measure is the only bridge upon which true friendship can be built
- Learning: in moving towards reciprocity, our posture must be one of a listener and learner, and it is in the receiving that we will be most changed
- Empowerment: doing on someone’s behalf must quickly fade as we equip through teaching and guiding
- Sustainability: whatever we do has long-term implications, and so it is critical that we minister with a key question in mind: “If I (my church, World Relief, etc.) were to die today, what would continue well without me?”
- Transparency and Accountability: the sharing of our lives and ministry in tandem with others requires mutual authenticity and intentional sharpening for ministry effectiveness.