"Choose welcome, not fear." These are the words Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the Office of the General Assembly PC(USA) implores in his statement related to the terror attacks that occurred over the weekend of Nov. 13, 2015 and support for Syrian refugees.
12.2 million of the displaced are Syrians In 2015, the number of forcibly displaced persons around the world exceeds 51 million, including some 13 million refugees who lack access to the most basic necessities of life, including food, clean water, safe shelter, health care, education, and protection from conflict, war, and violence.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been engaged in responding to the needs of displaced persons and refugees. The response has been in collaboration with and support of ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) members and other ecumenical partners who are providing relief to refugees in neighboring countries and to internally displaced Syrians. PDA has also been providing direct assistance to our mission partner, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL), which is also providing relief and care.
Most recently, PDA responded to a request from NESSL to provide fuel and oil for winter, medication support, and school for many of the people seeking assistance from Presbyterian churches in the region. Funds have also been provided for structural repairs of the First Evangelical Church of Damascus that was damaged from mortar shells. First Evangelical Church of Damascus is one of the sites NESSL is using to provide relief activities.
Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States
In addition to providing funds for humanitarian response for Syrians overseas, PDA is working with our partner in refugee resettlement, Church World Service, to resettle Syrian refugees who are coming to the United States. 1,000 Syrian Refugees have now found a new home in the US, but more are ready to come. Help them find peace and a new hope this World Refugee Day. To find out more about supporting refugees in your community please contact Susan Krehbiel.