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December 7, 2015
 
Disciples Refugee Alert 
 
 
THIS WEEK, it is critical to keep demonstrating the readiness of Disciples of Christ to " BUILD A HOSPITALITY HIGHWAY" across North America!  See this link to an article from last Saturday's Interfaith Welcome Refugees event in Falls Church, Va., which highlights the partnership of First Christian Church with the Dar Al-Hajrah Islamic Center nearby. See some pictures from this event above.

As well, see pictures above of Welcoming Refugees from our Whosoever Wills Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland!  Members in our largely Liberian-background congregation took time during their 20 th Birthday festivities yesterday to remember their heritage...and to demonstrate hospitality for refugees! 

PLEASE consider adding a message of "We Welcome Refugees" to your church sign, and please encourage your youth and adults to make messages of scripture's calls to welcome the stranger-and to take PICTURES that demonstrate your prayers and support for refugees!! SEND YOUR PICTURES TO: sstanley@dhm.disciples.org , so that we can share them as a part of our national, multi-partner campaign of support!!  Please send them also to your own legislators...especially U.S. Senators and Representatives, and Governors THIS WEEK!"  And, PLEASE SEND ALSO ANY INFORMATION YOU HAVE ABOUT WELCOMING REFUGEES EVENTS BEING PLANNED IN YOUR AREA-AND LET US KNOW HOWEVER WE CAN ASSIST!

Also, consider JOINING TODAY'S WEBINAR ON HOW TO BUILD MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS, sponsored by our RIM office together with Interfaith Immigration Coalition partners.  This webinar is at 4 p.m. East Coast time, and you can RSVP and find additional information here.

OR, consider writing an OP-ED to have a strong impact and voice.
Contact Sharon for additional resources to help!! 

Yet, because a Congressional vote is likely as soon as this week on an Omnibus spending bill, we know that
NO TIME IS MORE CRITICAL THAN NOW TO KEEP ON CALLING LEADERS AND ACTING TO BE SURE VOICES OF WELCOME ARE SOLIDLY HEARD ABOVE ONES OF PUSHBACK OR DISCRIMINATION.
Just days ago, leaders such as 20+ former secretaries of state and other national security, defense, and military experts wrote letters to each Member of Congress stating, "We believe that America can and should continue to provide refuge to those fleeing violence and persecution without compromising the security and safety of our nation. To do otherwise would be contrary to our nation's traditions of openness and inclusivity, and would undermine our core objective of combating terrorism."

Likewise, Senator Donnelly of Indiana on Thursday expressed support for the current refugee resettlement program when he said, "I have worked extensively to review our screening process for refugees to enter into the United States and Indiana. I feel confident after this review that the refugee screening process is exhaustive and utilizes the best information, technology, and appropriate caution to ensure the security of the United States and our Hoosier state. I believe that, in light of the security processes, extensive reviews, and safety steps put in place, that the refugee program should be allowed to move forward."
Perhaps the greatest celebration is how multiple faith communities expressed welcome for refugees in so many ways this week! Here are a few celebrations of faith community voices raised in recent days:
  • Evangelical Faith Leaders, through the Evangelical Immigration Table, sent a letter to Congress calling for compassion and hospitality for refugees and asylum seekers. View the letter here.
  • More than 152 bishops, presidents of denominations and CEOs of faith-based organizations, as well as over 450 local pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders, joined with us as Disciples, with Church World Service, and with the Refugee Council USA to send letters to all Members of Congress stating opposition to any legislation that could limit resettlement based on religion or nationality. The letter also calls for compassion and welcome towards all refugees. View the full letter and list of signatories here.
  • Jewish community leaders, through the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) released a national letter signed by over 1000 Rabbis in support of welcoming refugees to the United States. The letter called on elected leaders to "exercise moral leadership" in the face of this humanitarian crisis. 
    View the full letter and list of signatories here .
And especially, Church World Service posted many of the unending acts and stories of YOUR faith community hospitality from around the country. See some of them here:

http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/welcoming-refugees-state-by-state-reference/ 

SO, NOW WHAT ELSE IS NEEDED FROM FAITH VOICES LIKE YOURS?  
 
1.)  CONTACT OUR OFFICE TO SHARE ANY ACTS OF HOSPITALITY FOR REFUGEES THROUGH YOUR CONGREGATION, OR STORIES, PICTURES, AND EVENTS OF WELCOME IN YOUR COMMUNITY!! Email: sstanley@dhm.disciples.org or call 202-957-7826.
 
2.)  TODAY, AND EVERY DAY THROUGH DEC. 11, CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES & SENATORS AT: 1-866-961-4293:
  • Tell your Senators' offices that as a constituent, you OPPOSE bills and policy riders to the "Omnibus" appropriations bill that would stop, pause or defund the resettlement of Syrian refugees, or only allow Christians to be resettled.
  • Tell your Representative's office that as a constituent, you OPPOSE H.R. 4038 and policy riders to the "Omnibus" appropriations bill that would stop, pause or defund the resettlement of Syrian refugees, or only allow Christians to be resettled.
3.)  IF YOUR GOVERNOR HAS ASKED THAT SYRIAN REFUGEES NOT BE ALLOWED INTO YOUR STATE, CALL YOUR GOVERNOR'S OFFICE USING THE NUMBERS BELOW! Inform your Governor's office that as a constituent, you want to help WELCOME Syrian refugees and that you're against any efforts to reject Syrian refugees.
 
Alabama: 334-242-7100
Arizona: 520-628-6580 / 602-542-4331
Arkansas: 501-682-2345
Florida: 850-488-7146                    
G
eorgia: 404-656-1776
Idaho: 208-334-2100
Illinois: 217-782-0244
Indiana: 317-569-0709

Iowa: 515-281-5211
Kansas: 785-296-3232
Louisiana: 225-342-7015

Maine: 207-287-3531
Maryland: 410-974-3901
Massachusetts: 617-725-4005
Michigan: 517-373-3400 & Sign the letter !
Mississippi: 601-359-3150
Nebraska: 402-471-2244 / 308-660-9111
Nevada: 775-684-5670
New Hampshire:603-271-2121
New Jersey: 609-292-6000

N ew Mexico: 505-476-2200
North Carolina: 919-814-2000
North Dakota: 703-328-2200
Ohio: 614-466-3555
Oklahoma: 405-521-2342
South Carolina: 803-734-2100           
South Dakota: 605-773-3212
Tennessee: 615-741-2001 & sign the letter !
Texas: 800-843-5789 / 512-463-1782
Wisconsin: 608-266-1212
Wyoming: 307-777-7434
 
AS YOU MAKE ALL OF THE ABOVE CALLS
to Senators, Representatives, AND Governors, feel free to use this script:
"I'm a constituent from [City] and I support Syrian refugees. I am opposed to any bill or provision in the upcoming funding bill that would stop or halt the resettlement of refugees based on their nationality or religion. I urge the Senator / Representative / Governor to represent me and other constituents who seek to welcome Syrian refugees."

Though some cite concerns about refugees being a concern to national security, refugees are actually the most heavily screened individuals entering the United States. Here are some helpful points on the security process, but the most important point is your story and why your community wants to welcome Syrian refugees:
  • The U.S. government handpicks the refugees who resettle here, and the U.S. resettlement process has the most rigorous screening process in the world.
  • Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted people to come to the United States, undergoing interagency screenings by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Defense and multiple intelligence agencies, including biometric checks, forensic document testing, medical tests and in-person interviews.
  • Continuing refugee resettlement while maintaining national security is not an either/or situation. The United States can continue to welcome refugees while also continuing to ensure national security. We can and must do both.
3.)  AND, PLEASE CONSIDER JOINING THE "WELCOMING REFUGEE" EVENTS BELOW, AND SEE STORIES OF ONES JUST HELD!! See the events below, and check out americawelcomes.tumblr.com  for more!
 
UPCOMING EVENTS
Sunday, Dec. 13th
Care Packages for Local Refugees  in Marriotsville, MD
 
Saturday, Dec. 19th
MOST RECENT PAST EVENTS
Saturday, Dec. 5th
Hoosiers for Syrian Refugees March    in Bloomington, IN 

Sunday, Dec. 6th

Thursday, Dec. 3rd
Multicultural Feast welcoming refugees in Bloomington, IN
 
Tuesday, Dec. 1st
#JustLikeUs Water Lantern Festival in Salt Lake City, UT
Holiday dinner in Syracuse, NY
 
Saturday, Nov. 28th
Say YES to Syrian Refugees rally in Hartford, CT
 
Rally for Refugees in Seattle, WA 
 
Wednesday, Nov. 25th
Louisville Mayor and employees hold rally for refugees in Louisville, KY
 
Vigil Welcoming Refugees  in Augusta, ME
Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea
Director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Disciples Home Missions

Five Thomas Circle, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-4153
(202) 957-7826 (Cell)

Refugee & Immigration Ministries is a ministry of Disciples Home Missions in Partnership with the Christian Church Capital Area and the Disciples Center for Public Witness

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