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How newcomers become British & American: US Ambassador

Thanksgiving Day Service for the American Community in London

US Ambassador Matthew Barzun told the annual Thanksgiving Service for the American community in London how new residents to the USA and Great Britain can become new neighbours.

True connections, not mere contact, is necessary for people seeking to rebuild their shattered lives.

"Our countries, with our own concerns, must weigh our values and the practicalities. And we are doing just that. But as we look inward at our capacity to take in new families ... And as we look outward at these potential new residents. We will do well to remember the opportunity gained - or lost - in the space between.

"Because the work isn't over when the paperwork is done. when asylum is granted. When a roof over their heads has been found. Mere contact with our countries is not yet a connection. Our engagement is needed - each and everyone one of us - to help newcomers become new neighbours.

"That way they can become British. Become American. Call our countries home. Otherwise it's just a place."

Ambassador Barzun linked this to a dinner party conversation with comedian Jimmy Carr, who told him:

"'Jokes are strange things ... If you play a song and no one likes it, it's still a song. If you write a play and everyone walks out, it's still a play. But if you tell a joke and no one laughs, it's just a sentence.'"

Read the US Ambassador's full address

The Dean of St Paul's, the Very Revd Dr David Ison, said of the USA: "We give thanks for that nation's history, for its inheritance of faith, for its tradition of liberty, for its defence of freedom, for all that we have received at God's hand."

Read the Thanksgiving Order of Service 

Staff and members of the American Embassy, US Armed Forces' members, the American International Church, the International Community Church, and the American Protest Church in the Hague took part in the service, with the combined Choirs of the American Congregation.

See all the photos for the 2015 Thanksgiving Service 

A collection was made for the London Churches Refugee Fund.