Refugee and Immigration

 

Refugees are an important part of the economic growth and recovery our communities need.  We have made a commitment as human beings to help them.  Don't let the support for refugees be cut from the budget.  Call your senator now and voice your support for the refugee program in the US. 

 

 

Deuteronomy 10:19 - You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt

Matthew 25:35 - ...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...

 Hebrews 13:1-2 - Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

The story of scripture is a story of people on the move toward new horizons.  It is a story of people who grow, mingle with new cultures and take on new characteristics.  It is a story of continued hopes for a better future.  It also is a story of God interening in people's lives and sending people out to new places when life begins to look too comfortable, too routine, too full of pleasures or too weighed down with sin.

In the Old Testament:
Adam and Eve were sent from the Garden to begin again in a new place.
Noah and his family also were called to begin society anew in a new place.
God sent Abraham and Sarah out to a new land.
Joseph was sold into Egypt, he learned to adjust to a new culture.  Then, when there was a great famine, Jacob, his sons, and their families came to Egypt seeking refuge.
When Jacob's descendants had been turned into slaves in Egypt, God called Moses to lead the Hebrew children out of their slavery and into a new period of wandering in the wilderness.

In the New Testament:
Joseph, Mary and Jesus became refugees when they fled to Egypt to escape the murderous wrath of Herod.
Jesus became a wandering preacher and teacher and he taught his followers that when they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thristy, and welcomed the stranger, they were meeting God.
Jesus explicitly showed kindness and respect to the downcast strangers of his day when he reached out to the Samaritan woman at the well and told the parable of the Good Samaritan.

In our own time:
People continue to move, often forcibly because of crisis and political upheaval.  Some of these families and individuals come to Kentucky.  If we are to be faithful to our biblical heritage and to do what Jesus would do, we will respond with welcoming hands to refugees and immigrants.  As individuals, groups within congregations, or as entire congregations we can cooperate to welcome new folks around us.

The Justice Team has sponsored workshops in the past on refugee resettlement and has recognized at Annual Conference those congregations that help to welcome new families to Kentucky.

 

Online Tools:

Several organizations serve as resources to the United Methodists and others in Kentucky who have a welcoming heart:

Catholic Charities:  http://www.cclou.org/

Church World Service:  http://www.cclou.org/

Kentucky Refugee Ministries:  http://www.kyrm.org/

The United Methodist background document on immigration and refugee issues, updated by the 2008 General Conference:  http://www.umc.org/site/apps/ninet/content2.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1Lth&b=4951419&ct=6481119¬oc=1%20

A good biblical background document on immigration/refugee concerns; it contains a wealth of scriptural references; published in 2007 by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ):  http://www.oikoumene.org/uploads/tx_wecdiscussion/03WhatDoesBibleSay.pdf 

From Church World Service (a preview clip from the longer video "A Future with Hope"):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz4RQ0bx3iY

UMCOR Refugee Newsletter:  January/February 2011