Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
International news events are having an impact on our life as a diocese, and I wanted to talk to you about them and suggest a couple of ways in which we might respond.
The Trump administration’s recently announced suspension of the refugee resettlement program and its restrictions on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries has aroused significant passion and resistance, and rightly so. It is both un-American and un-Christian to turn our backs on people fleeing violence, or to favor members of one religion over another in setting immigration standards.
The news is of particular importance to us because Church of the Mediator in Allentown and the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem are working with refugee families from the countries affected by the order. I want to assure you that that work is not in jeopardy. We will continue to care for these families and assist them. They are members of our community with whom we have a special relationship. No executive order changes that. I ask your prayers for everyone involved in this work, and especially for our refugee families.
If you want to make your voice heard on this issue, please consider participating in a new campaign launched today by the Episcopal Public Policy Network, which is a ministry of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations. EPPN is asking Episcopalians to call their national, state, and local elected officials at least four times in the next two months to let them know that our church welcomes refugees. You can find details and suggested scripts here for the 2×4 Fight for Refugees campaign.
We have also had hard news recently from our friends in the Diocese of Kajo Keji in South Sudan. In correspondence with our New Hope representative, Stephen Tomor, Deacon Charles Barebo has learned that the armed conflict between government and opposition forces that has plagued other regions of South Sudan for the past three years has recently reached Kajo Keji, bringing with it all of the horror of war.
“We are praying for the power of God to intervene,” Stephen wrote.
I ask you to pray for all of the people of Kajo Keji, and to consider making a donation to a relief fund that will help to buy much-needed food and medicine for members of the diocese, and allow Stephen to travel to the refugee camps where many of the children of the schools we sponsor in Kajo Keji are now living. If you are moved to contribute, you can do so by sending a check to Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem, PA 18015, with “Kajo Keji Relief” in the memo line.
The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe