Restoration is deeply committed to welcoming refugees. We say this because we believe that God has always called his people to welcome refugees. All of scripture puts the radical hospitality of God on display, from his command to the Israelites that “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself” (Lev. 19:34) to Jesus’ commendation “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Mat. 25:35-36) to the exhortation from the author of Hebrews, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2).
Long before politicians turned their attention to the plight of refugees God had called his people to lay aside their fears in order to care for people from outside their national borders. We are in the middle of the greatest refugee crisis since World War II with 65 million internally displaced people and refugees fleeing war, oppressive governments, and persecution. Nearly half of them are children who, with their parents or on their own, struggle to survive without permanent housing, access to medical care, education, legal employment, or protection under the law. Learn more about the crisis from the UNHCR.
I am so proud of the way that Restoration has responded to this crisis that has displaced people who are so dear to the heart of God. As a church we support missionaries on the ground in the Middle East and Europe who are responding to the refugee crisis. And we have committed to support two Syrian refugee families in Dallas through our ministry partner Gateway of Grace and hope to welcome more in the future.
Halt to Refugees Arriving in the United States
The news has been flooded with details surrounding President Trump’s executive order that temporarily halted all refugees from entering the U.S. and banned Syrian refugees indefinitely. In addition, access to the United States is limited for immigrants and non-immigrants arriving from seven Middle Eastern countries. Read an annotated version of the executive order to learn more.
The primary role of government is to protect its citizens and it should carefully vet who is permitted to come to the United States as a refugee. However, there has been great misinformation and fear-mongering about the screening process for refugees arriving in the United States, often conflating our process with the open borders and geographic proximity of European countries. Here is a summary of the two-year process that refugees from Syria must currently complete before being admitted to the United States.
The Unites States has a history of giving priority to refugees who are in greatest jeopardy in their homelands. It is vital that we return immediately to responding to the desperate needs of the most vulnerable. We also need to repair our relationships with the nations affected by the travel ban before they in turn ban Americans from travel. We have countless devoted missionaries and relief workers who serve tirelessly in war-torn places who should be allowed to continue the work of the Gospel all around the world.
A Call to Come to the Defense of Refugees
Anglicans are a global communion and we are committed to praying for the protection and care of refugees around the world. Join Archbishop Foley Beach and Bishop Todd Hunter in praying for the refugee crisis. You can also join with Gateway of Grace to pray for the future of our shared ministry to refugees in Dallas at a prayer vigil on Monday, February 6 at 6:30 pm.
We are also asking you to contact your elected representatives to ask them to restore access to the United States for refugees. The President’s executive order will be challenged in courts but the best solution for the future of our refugee policies will likely come from congress and you have more influence than you know. Read more about effectively contacting your elected officials.
Take these steps today:
- Find your elected representatives in Washington, D.C. Your representative in the House and Senator Cornyn also have local offices you can contact and visit in person.
- Set aside a time to call each of them. Office staff receives all communication and letters, emails, and online petitions are easily overlooked. But staffers keep track of calls by issue and report on them.
- When you call ask to speak to the staffer for immigration, offer your name, and zip code so they know you are a constituent. If you voted them mention that as well.
- Be very clear that you are disappointed with the executive order and their support or silence concerning the order. Ask for order banning refugees to be lifted, for Syrians refugees to be admitted again, and for legislation that secures the future of the refugee program to be made a priority.
- If you are feeling especially emboldened, repeat the process agin on the state level. Governor Abbott removed Texas from the refugee resettlement program in 2016 eliminating state support for refugees.
Many members of Restoration have been deeply moved by our experience with refugees over the past few years. If you are concerned about our support for refugees we would love to hear more from you and continue the conversation. We would also like to introduce you to the families that have welcomed us with opened arms in their homes, to their dinner tables, and into their hearts. They are just a few people among millions of vulnerable refugees that are waiting for us to come to their defense in the name of Jesus and we are honored that Restoration is a part of this important work.