Over the past two weeks, the senseless attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, and Mali shocked the world. Our prayers continue to flow for the victims and their families.
As followers of the Christ who says to us, “Do not fear,” we resist the fear we see manifested in discrimination and prejudice against some of the world’s most vulnerable people because of their nationality or religious background.
United Methodists have a strong and historical commitment to those on the margins, especially women and children. As followers of the One who was himself a refugee, we have long understood that as the Body of Christ, we do not turn away from those who have been forced from their lands through war, violence, and violation. We respond with love and courage as a community of faith that teaches and exhibits hospitality to the poor, the homeless, and the oppressed. We remember that Jesus says, “as you welcome the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoner, and the stranger, you welcome me.”
For this reason, as United Methodists, in our Book of Resolutions we name the care of refugees as a first priority in our statement on Global Migration and the Quest for Justice. We note that many refugees in the world today are themselves members of the Christian community, brothers and sisters of the same baptism, gathered around the same sacramental table. This is true for the world, and it is true for Syria. Furthermore, we claim that people beyond the Christian community deserve no less hospitality than Christians extend to other Christians.
We United Methodists in the North Carolina Conference are called to pray for peace. Thus, during this holiday of Thanksgiving, we pray for Syria and its people, a country where more than 250,000 people have been killed and 4 million are fleeing for their lives.
Church World Service
Beyond prayer, we are also called to direct action to welcome and provide tangible hospitality to our refugee brothers and sisters. In our conference, we are blessed to partner with Church World Service (CWS). CWS provides assistance and resettlement services to those displaced by violence and discrimination. CWS has used its expertise in refugee resettlement to assist thousands of refugees on the road to beginning a new life. In partnership with local congregations and with other volunteers, CWS helps to provide basic needs like housing, furniture, clothing, food and medical appointments. They also work to provide refugees with the tools for improving their potential, such as English as a second language, school registration, job and cultural orientation and skills training.
We encourage our United Methodist churches to work with our local CWS office in North Carolina – CWS-RDU. You can see the many opportunities for service at: http://cwsrdu.org/co-sponsors/. Additionally, you can contact CWS-RDU at 919-680-4310, Monday to Thursday 9am – 5pm. You can connect through the web at: http://cwsrdu.org/contact-us/. You can find out more about Church World Service work across the globe at: http://www.cwsglobal.org/about/.
There are multiple Advance ministries that allow you to help refugees. We recommend the following:
As United Methodists and followers of the Prince of Peace, we recognize this urgent need and have these ways to respond.