The Church and Refugees: Series Intro
Since America began hosting refugees after World War II and especially after the Refugee Resettlement Act was signed into law in 1980, the Christian Church has played a vital role in supporting refugees as they begin new chapters of life among us. Both financially and practically (volunteering, etc.) American churches have contributed to refugee aid both here and overseas. In fact, of the nine agencies allowed by the federal government to facilitate refugee resettlement in the US, five are Christian organizations (Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and World Relief). Christian churches in the developing world where most refugees first seek protection are also playing an indispensable role as the hands and feet of Jesus to many vulnerable people. Though I hope to write later about these churches on the front lines, this series will focus primarily on the American church's involvement with refugees resettled in our communities. Over the next few weeks in this series on the Church and refugees, we'll address answers to the following key questions.
- What is the role of the American Church in refugee aid?
- Is the Church fulfilling her role? Why or why not?
- How can the Church become more effective in serving refugees?
- Who is responsible for leading the Church to serve refugees?
- How can the Church best be educated about refugees?
- How can the Church practically make a difference in the lives of refugees?
I want to separate these questions into three future articles that will mirror the process required to transform a church that has absolutely no involvement with refugees in their community to a church that understands God's heart for the stranger and is acting as His hands and feet to welcome them on a regular basis.
If you're passionate about refugees or just interested in how to help them, but your church hasn't caught the vision, join me through this series to learn how you can rally your church to learn about refugees and then get excited about serving them. The Church and refugees were not to live and operate independently of each other. Rather, the Church's purpose is to live out the Gospel in the world by loving the least of these, and that must mean serving refugees.
Does your church serve refugees in any capacity? What other questions do you think are key to thinking about the Church and refugees?
Let me know in the comments and I'll try to cover them in the rest of the series.