A Message from Steve
Dear friends in Christ,
Last week I had a chance to speak with Allison Duvall, Program Manager for Church Relations and Engagement at Episcopal Migration Ministries. I asked her what we can do at this time to help. You have probably heard that the current administration is on pace to resettle less than half of the 45,000 quota designated by the president for fiscal ’18 (July-June). Advocacy always helps, and donations to the resettlement agencies to help keep them open also help. In Northampton, the Welcome Home Northampton (run by Catholic Charities) is resettling a family right now. They are in desperate need of housing in Northampton if you know of any. http://welcomehomenorthampton.org/
It’s easy to despair. What EMM is doing now is taking the long view. The country is deeply divided over the issue of refugee resettlement as it got conflated with issues around immigration. To bridge that divide we need to be part of the solution and work on understanding, empathy, and respect for each other as followers of Jesus. We need to engage with people, work on education- especially with young people, to create the beloved community. The real work is to get at the roots of what so badly disrupted our common understanding of refugee resettlement, which had always been non-partisan and focused on the needs of the most vulnerable refugees in the world. And we need to work on self-care.
This reconciliation work resonates strongly today after Michael Curry preached to the couple and the world on Saturday. I will be in touch about potential work with other dioceses in Province One.
This link is to a TEC webinar that recounts the Episcopal Church legacy of welcoming refugees. legacy of welcoming refugees
Thank you for your continued interest and support in refugee resettlement and responding to the Syrian humanitarian crisis.
Direct support of refugee resettlement agencies
Support agencies directly with donations of time, goods, and money. The temporary label is very misleading. Many of the resettlement agencies which the US State Department works with depend on the accompanying funding to operate. Suspending resettlement means that funding will be also suspended, and that means that these agencies will have to lay off staff and basically mothball their operation. These organizations will not have the resources or capacity to resume their work at [re-interruptions levels.
There are nine resettlement agencies in the US. They have numerous affiliates in different states. In our region, there is Ascentria (part of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services), Jewish Family Services (part of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), and Catholic Charities (part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). I encourage you to support these agencies with your financial donations.
Donate goods / Volunteer
|To Refugee Resettlement Agencies||Education on the vetting process
The other major issue we are facing is a lack of understanding about the vetting process for refugees. It is a 20 step process which takes an average of 18 months. It is by far the most difficult way to get into the United States. People often erroneously conflate illegal immigration with refugee resettlement. I’ve provided links to numerous sites which explain the process. Consider sharing these resources in your congregation to help folks get educated on the process.
| Tell your elected officials that they should review the vetting process if that is a concern, not stop resettlement. Tell them you are concerned about the permanent damage that a “pause” will create. I have provided links to petitions and advocacy tools below.
Business community: bit.ly/Business4Refugees
Thank you for all you do. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or would like more information.
“Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted, shield the joyous;
and all for your love’s sake.”