Mission executive responds to question on refugees, denomination supports work of CWS

Church of the Brethren Newsline
January 26, 2017

Syrian women in a refugee camp in Jordan.
Photo by ACT/Paul Jeffrey.

“We are the church, we’ll continue to be the church, and we will welcome refugees in need from all religious backgrounds. This is in keeping with our Christian faith,” said Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, when contacted by the Huffington Post about the Church of the Brethren position on refugees.

“Ministry with refugees has been a priority for the Church of the Brethren, and aid for refugees has been a priority for giving by our church members,” Wittmeyer continued. “We aid refugees through grants to organizations like Church World Service and ACT Alliance. Our grants have helped support aid work in some of the hot spots of the worldwide crisis of human displacement in recent years, for example Lebanon where many thousands of Syrian refugees are sheltering. In Nigeria we are working with the Church of the Brethren there in a special response effort to aid people displaced by the violent Boko Haram insurgency. Here in the United States, several Church of the Brethren congregations are working to host refugees.

“Beginning 100 years ago with the Armenian genocide, this has been a vital part of our church’s witness.”

Church World Service (CWS) is providing resources for church members, congregations, and others concerned about the situation of refugees under the new US administration. An online “tool kit” of resources from CWS is available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eXNsf8rX4CqW1qHCsltIKYciYXwRBV-z2FHB1yXF77k/edit .

CWS also is collecting signatures of church leaders and other faith leaders across the country to an open letter from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. This letter has been signed by the general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, and the director of the denominaiton’s Office of Public Witness, among numerous religious leaders at the national, regional, and local levels. Find the full text of the letter at www.interfaithimmigration.org/2000religiousleaderletter . Find a sign-on form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScxnWhLCI54pTxWKXkgU97bUDSff3_ENjUTPquJx3U1tkEXFw/viewform .

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