Syrian Refugee Crisis
A Reflection on the Images of Syria
By Rev Dawn Adams
It is so easy to close our door to the one who knocks.
It is so easy to offer excuses of why we can’t or shouldn’t.
It is so easy to say they should of . . .(insert your justification)
But when you are faced with the reality,
When you must see the world through their eyes,
When you hear their stories . . .
How can you not open the door?
How can you not open your heart?
How can you not invite them in?
To share is not to diminish but to expand.
“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” - John 6:11-13 (NIV)
Over the past four years, the brutal civil war in Syria has resulted in over 4 million refugees and one of the worst humanitarian crises in history...the U.S. will increase the number of global refugees it will accept annually from 70,000 to 100,000 by 2017. The U.S. has also donated $4.5 billion in urgently needed humanitarian aid. These are significant contributions, but the gravity and scale of the crisis demands doing much more - and doing it with greater urgency. Read more and donate here.
(excerpted from "Call for Increased Support of Syrian Refugees", UCC Justice & Peace Action Network).
If you are interested in becoming more involved in this issue, see How You Can Help, below, or contact Kelly Gallagher at email@example.com.
How You Can Help
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Make your Voice Heard
Donate through One Great Hour of Sharing
- One hundred percent of your designated gift will go where most needed. Donate here.
Refugee Resources from the UCC
Refugees are Welcome Ideas
- A new coalition of humanitarian, religious, and non-profit organizations working together to create welcoming communities for refugees; supported by the United Church of Christ, Church World Service, and other faith-based organizations. Offer welcoming events, advocacy ideas and more. Visit their website here. Access the Refugees are Welcome Toolkit here.
Church World Service Ideas
- Get updates, contact your congressman, donate, or learn how you can provide a safe and welcoming home to a refugee with info from the CWS website. Also includes worship resources for pastors. Contact Brianne Casey with questions.
- Here are some specific ideas for congregations from Church World Service:
- Plan a day where prayer is included for the refugee crisis. There are resources here.
Reach out to one family:
- Collect rent, utilities, and living expenses for one arriving family.
- Collect all needed household items to welcome one family to be boxed and mailed to a CWS resettlement office for a family’s arrival. Click here for suggested items.
Raise awareness - and more:
Other ways to Volunteer:
- Knit! Bring the comfort of hand-made hats, sweaters and blankets to children in need. Visit World Vision's Knit for Kids page for patterns, step by step instructions, and where to mail your finished garment or blanket.
One Human Family: A Blog by Polly Hamlen
Religious Leaders Send Letter to Congress Urging Support for Syrian Refugees (Church World Service)
Dec. 3, 2015: In response to H.R. 4038, the so-called “American Security Against Foreign Enemies” (SAFE) Act and rumors that a must-pass appropriations bill may include policy riders to stop the resettlement of refugees from Iraq and Syria, 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, released a letter to all Members of Congress. The letter states opposition to any legislation that would limit resettlement based on religion or nationality and calls for Members of Congress to act with compassion and welcome towards all refugees. Read more here.
Church Leaders Urge U.S. Not to Close Borders to Syrian Refugees (UCC)
Nov. 17, 2015: With recent deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad prompting a debate in the United States over the country’s decision to accept additional Syrian refugees, national leaders of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are strongly urging lawmakers to resist a knee-jerk reaction to close the door and the border to innocent victims of the war in Syria. Read more.
"Commentary: Syria: Our Response to Crisis", by James Moos (UCC)
May 5, 2015: Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, approximately half of the country’s population of 22 million has either crossed borders into neighboring countries as refugees, or is internally displaced within Syria. If the same percentage of the population of the United States was impacted by violence in our neighborhoods, 160 million of us would be forced to flee from our homes in order to save our lives. Read more here.
Syria Crisis and our Churches' Response (Global Ministries)
The crisis in Syria dates back to the early days of 2011, when peaceful protesters expressed their hopes for political and economic reforms, in the spirit of the so-called Arab Spring that was sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. The situation became violent only a couple of months later, in March. Since then, more than a quarter million Syrians have been killed, half of the Syrian population has been forced from their homes—either displaced internally or as refugees in neighboring countries, and now Europe and beyond—and hopes for a resolution of the conflict remain dim.
For prayer or study resources, webinars and other resources, go here.
Global Ministries and the UCC: Our work together
See an overview of UCC responses to the crisis in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East through our work with Global Ministries, here.