Gaining Perspective in the Light of Executive Orders
Upcoming Refugee Ministry Training Opportunities
by Gregg Detwiler, Director, Intercultural Ministries, EGC
Hello friends, I want to give you an update on our ministry and hopefully encourage you as well.
As you might guess, this has been a really intense time of ministry for us in the Greater Boston Refugee Ministry. Since President Trump gave his initial executive order on January 27, 2017, and his new executive order on March 6, reducing and temporarily ceasing the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), the debate and even the rancor of our nation has really ramped up. I recognize that those of you reading this report may have a variety of opinions on this and other issues. Regardless of your personal position, I want to encourage you, even as I encourage myself and our team, that we would have the proper moorings to keep us steady and faithful in this season of debate.
I want to give you four things to consider:
1. GET WELL INFORMED
First of all, it is my hope that we would all seek to be well informed, that we would make sure that we get our facts and information from balanced and well-founded sources. One example of a good resource is to review the refugee vetting process already in place. You can see an infographic of that process at this site.
If you have questions or concerns about refugees coming into the United States and how that process works, please reach out to us. We will be happy to point you to some resources that we feel are reputable and accurate to help you understand what exactly happens. You can either send us a message through the “Contact EGC” button on this page: https://www.egc.org/take-action or call us during regular business hours at 617-262-4567 and ask to speak to someone in the Greater Boston Refugee Ministry.
2. ENGAGE IN POSITIVE ACTION
Secondly, regardless of where you may stand about whether refugees should continue to come in or whether the number should be decreased or increased, the fact is we already have refugees here! And the scriptural mandate for us to welcome and serve refugees—the foreigner, the alien, the stranger, the widow, the orphan—those mandates have not changed. And so even as this debate rages, I would encourage you to direct your energy toward acting and doing something positive right now regarding this population, and there are many opportunities for you to get involved. If you are in the Boston area, we would love to help direct you toward that positive action. Please get in touch with us. If you live to the west of Boston, contact our partners at WARM, the Worcester Alliance for Refugee Ministry. And if you live in other places around the country, I will try to point you toward people serving refugees where you are.
3. ATTEND A GBRM TRAINING
Thirdly, in order to take action in ways that are really helpful and not harmful, it’s very important we are first trained. This month, we are offering several trainings in the Greater Boston area. In the coming months, there will be more. Please visit our web page at https://www.egc.org/refugee for a list of current opportunities. On March 11, 2017, we will be at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. On March 18 and April 29 we will be in Belmont, Mass. Contact us to ask for details about these, or check our website.
4. LISTEN TO THE STORIES OF REFUGEES
One excellent way that we can get better informed about the real story is to hear from refugees themselves. The Greater Boston Refugee Ministry was invited to be part of a news feature story produced by NBC Boston on January 29, 2017. They asked us to bring some of our refugee friends, and so we brought a refugee couple, a Christian family from Syria, who talked about their reactions to the executive order and how those events were making them feel. I am sure you would find this short video informative and inspiring as you view this couple’s story linked here.
Thank you for your active partnership in serving refugees with us. Your prayers, encouragement and financial support help us equip churches in Greater Boston to serve the many families who have recently arrived and are trying to settle in.
For the GBRM Team,