Presbyterians Today

OCT-NOV 2017

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28 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay family," said Cochran-Carney. "We are a small church of about 100 members, but we are very committed to missions and believe we are called to be involved in this." 'We Choose Welcome' In 2015 the PC(USA) launched the campaign "We Choose Welcome," committing to welcome refugees of all nationalities and faiths. The campaign is part of a larger effort involving other faith-based organiza- tions and ecumenical groups, includ- ing CWS. "Here in the U.S., congrega- tions and local communities have embraced families and encouraged local communities to get involved through community celebrations and international festivals," said Susan Krehbiel, catalyst for refugees and asylum with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. "It is time for us to remember refugees and displaced persons in our worship and look for ways to advocate on their behalf." Krehbiel says the U.S. is strug- gling with what its relationship is with the world, and refugees are an integral part of that. She's hopeful that congregations will pray for refugees as well as for people in power who are making decisions about refugees' lives. Many congre- gations remain committed to helping refugee families but feel caught in the middle, concerned about reper- cussions from the national or local governments if they continue to support refugee families. "I think a lot of congregations have been inspired to do more, and many have found their voice and conviction around their sense of call to refugee ministry," said Krehbiel. "At the same time, there are some congregations that are nervous because this has been a part of their ministry for years and they feel caught in the middle." To fully understand the moti- vation for families to come to the U.S., look at where they are coming from, says the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Kraus has made numerous trips to countries that have seen hundreds of thou- sands leave, including Syria and South Sudan. She's visited refugee camps and traveled with Krehbiel to the U.S. southern borders to meet with families that have entered the country. "We are reweaving a new Presbyterian interfaith community of support for refugees and immi- grants in a moment in our world's history that is as important and necessary now as it was when faith groups came together to respond to the refugee crisis at the end of World War II," she said. "The tension of this political climate around refugees is just heartbreaking, and being able to build on our long history of welcoming refugees feels deeply important." Kraus has made two trips to Homs, Syria, a city devastated by the war that is now in its sixth year. The city has been left in ruins, yet those who have stayed behind are struggling to rebuild, even in the midst of continuing threats of violence. "To have seen what we have PAUL JEFFREY, ACT In recent years the number of people in the world experiencing forced displacement has been at its highest since WWII. Many PC(USA) congregregations are welcoming them in Christ's name. LEARN MORE Presbyterian Disaster Assistance film about the Farouk family titled "To Breathe Free": Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Refugee Ministry: refugee PC(USA) "We Choose Welcome" campaign: we-choose-welcome

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