Members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware stand behind a banner that reads "We Choose Welcome for refugees"

Members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware proudly Choose Welcome!

World Refugee Day is June 20th, 2017

"I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?

 My help comes from the Lord,who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121)

 Millions of people flee their homes and their homelands every year with little hope but to trust in God to lead them to safety.  Like Moses, leading the Hebrews out of Egypt, they do not know what lies ahead but believe that God will show them the way.

Throughout scripture the people of God face difficult times, when their lives are at risk, their country is at war or under foreign occupation.  Our faith stories are also a narrative of migration – journeys chosen and not chosen, of pilgrimages and wandering lost in the wilderness, of exiles and home comings.  And through history, people of faith have relied on the generosity of strangers to provide shelter, food, hospitality and safety.


In the midst of a refugee crisis on this year’s World Refugee Day, Tuesday June 20th, Presbyterians across the U.S. are finding ways to express a vibrant welcome to refugees, and to encourage our national and local leaders to honor this nation's proud asylum and refugee resettlement history.

#WeChooseWelcome is a rallying call from Presbyterians across the U.S. expressing their commitment to welcome refugees of all nationalities and faiths. This particular phrase comes from former Stated Clerk, Gradye Parsons, when he urged Presbyterians to "choose welcome, not fear" in response to growing cries of anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiments in November 2015.

As part of a larger interfaith effort, this PC(USA) effort is focused around 3 goals: to demonstrate welcome through our actions with refugees, asylum seekers and the broader community; to promote more generous and welcoming refugee policies, including countering anti-refugee messages and policies; and to promote efforts to end the conflicts that cause refugee displacement. 

#WeChooseWelcome is part of a much broader ecumenical and interfaith effort.  The commitment to stand with refugees is supported by all major denominations and faith groups.  The Presbyterian Church (USA) joins Church World Service (CWS), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and other faith-based organizations to seek greater support locally and nationally to provide a place where all are welcome, regardless of their faith or their nationality.  

Together, Presbyterians and people of all faiths are working along side non-profit organizations to create welcoming communities for refugees and asylum seekers.  Despite the horrors of their past, these new neighbors bring with them great gifts of perseverance and resiliency and a deep desire to make a new home among us.  

 

 

 You can choose among the many resources provided by PDA  and its partners to help you get involved with welcoming   refugees--see the Browse Links on the right-hand side of this page. You can join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #WeChooseWelcome and #GreaterAs1. 

 

Don’t let your ministry with refugees and asylum seekers remain the best kept secret in your community.  This World Refugee Day celebrate the newcomers in your midst, create opportunities to build deeper understanding across faiths and nationalities and share your photos and stories to bear witness that We Choose Welcome.

 

 

PRAYER: O God of the alien and the refugee, hear us as we pray for those who are far from home and homeland.  Give them comfort and protection, food and shelter.  Open our hearts to offer a welcome and guide us to know what we can do to show your love to those within our midst who are seeking a new life and who have many blessings to share with us.  Through Jesus who “had no place to lay his head.”  Amen.
 
 

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