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Episcopal Migration Ministries Thanksgiving Message

posted Nov 27, 2015, 4:35 PM by Trinity Vestry

 

November 25, 2015

An Important Update and Thanksgiving Message

 

Dear friends,

 

Your messages and your support in recent weeks have been a blessing, a comfort, and a source of strength for all of us at Episcopal Migration Ministries, and our local partner offices and other resettlement colleagues across the United States. Thank you.

 

As you know, we are in the midst of a great struggle for the future of refugee resettlement in the United States. The House of Representatives recently passed HR 4038, the so-called "SAFE Act," with a veto-proof majority. This disastrous piece of legislation would add onerous, lengthy, and logistically impossible bureaucratic procedures on top of the already extensive and robust security screening process for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The current security screening process takes no less than 18-24 months, and for most Syrian and Iraqi refugees, takes three to four years or longer. Not only would this bill require that the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the FBI personally certify each individual application (which has already been vetted by the vast security screening apparatus), it would then require reporting to THIRTEEN congressional committees on each individual refugee considered for resettlement.

 

In short, HR 4038 will grind to a halt refugee resettlement for the most vulnerable fleeing Iraq and Syria. Who are the most vulnerable? Iraqis whose lives are now in danger because they supported the American military as interpreters, aids, and contractors. Syrian families, primarily women and children, who are fleeing the Syrian Civil War and the barbarism and terrorism of ISIS.

 

Even while this information is being shared widely by news outlets, political leaders and candidates continue to share and perpetuate misinformation and lies. While voices of compassion, of welcome, and of support for Syrian resettlement are growing across the country (thanks be to God), we know that still today, for every 1 call a Representative or Senator receives supporting refugee resettlement, they receive 100 calls in opposition.

 

We must turn this tide.

 

We know support for resettlement and for Syrians exists robustly in the Episcopal Church and across the country. Each of you receiving this email are testament to that.

 

But truly, each and every one of us must call and write DAILY. If we do not, the voices of fear may well drown out the voices of welcome and hope.

 

Attached to this email you will find follow-up information from our Monday, November 23 Rapid Response webinar, including on-demand video of this and our precursor "Mission and Advocacy to Support Refugees" webinar. We have heard from so many of you and know you are interested in and/or preparing to welcome a refugee family through donations, volunteerism, or co-sponsorship. What a joy - what a way to share forth your own gratitude during this holiday season. But, as I have explained to many, what is desperately needed at this time is your voice and your advocacy.

 

If we do not stand up, stand strong, and stand together in solidarity with our refugee brothers and sisters, there will be no refugee families to welcome as your new neighbors. But we can stand together, and stand strong. We are Jesus People, and we know that love has the final word.

 

Finally, as we enter into this holiday season, celebrating Thanksgiving with our families and beginning our holy journey through Advent, we commend to you the United Thank Offering's Challenge to the Church. Deemed Advent: Journey from Gratitude to Hope, the United Thank Offering board is challenging Episcopalians to support refugee welcome in the United States through its 2015 Ingathering Challenge. United Thank Offering will match the first $30,000 given by December 31, 2015 that is marked “EMM-UTO.”  The challenge, which kicks off immediately, will continue throughout December 2015. Click here to learn more about the challenge. To Donate, select "UTO for EMM Challenge" from the drop-down menu and put "Episcopal Migration Ministries" in the comments. Checks may be sent to:

 

United Thank Offering

DFMS – Protestant Episcopal Church

P.O. Box 958983

St. Louis, MO 63195-8983

Check notation:  UTO-EMM

 

OR:

 

Submit checks to:

United Thank Offering

The Episcopal Church

815 Second Avenue

New York City, New York 10017

Check notation:  UTO-EMM

 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, know that we are thankful for each and every one of you. Thank you for your spirit of welcome, hope, and compassion. Thank you for your support of Episcopal Migration Ministries, our colleagues in the field, and the refugees we welcome to local communities across the United States. Thank you for lifting your voice during this critical time - letting your support for resettlement be known to your elected officials.

 

As always, do not hesitate to be in touch, share your stories of prayer vigils, public events in support of #RefugeesWelcome, sermons and educational events in your faith community, or to simply ask questions and receive more information. It is a blessing to serve you as you are ministers of welcome and hope in your local communities.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

 

Peace,

 

Allison Duvall |  MANAGER for CHURCH RELATIONS and ENGAGEMENT   | Episcopal Migration Ministries | The Episcopal Church | 212-716-6027

 

Be a voice of welcome and stand up for refugee resettlement: Learn more about refugee resettlement, Syrian refugees, and how you can be a voice of welcome during this critical time. Click here for resources, bishops' statements, and more.

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