I’m thrilled when our key partners and allies reaffirm our long-shared commitment to stand with immigrants and refugees. I’d like to post today about a very important statement that lifts up this commitment by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church.
In “ELCA, Episcopal Church Observe World Refugee Day,” Candice Hill Buchbinder of the ELCA News Service writes:
As the U.S. Senate continues to debate the bipartisan immigration reform bill introduced earlier this spring, leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church commemorate World Refugee Day with a joint statement to “celebrate our churches’ shared commitment to welcoming the stranger through service, accompaniment and advocacy.”
Buchbinder quotes a statement by the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, and the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, that calls observance of World Refugee Day an “opportunity to examine the dire global and regional conflicts and persecutions that create refugees, and to celebrate the resilience and success of the former refugees who bless communities in our midst with the riches of their earned wisdom, energy and spirit.”
For the past 40 years, Buchbinder notes, the ELCA and The Episcopal Church have partnered with the U.S. government in the resettlement of more than 3 million refugees. The two churches collaborate in 35 states, providing assistance and support for people who come to the United States seeking refuge from unstable situations in their home countries.
The ELCA does this work in partnership with LIRS. Buchbinder writes:
In the past 74 years, Lutherans have helped nearly 400,000 refugees rebuild their lives. To commemorate World Refugee Day, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service will invite more than 25 refugees to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to encourage support for immigration reform and better protection for refugees and other people displaced from their homes.
On this important day, we’re grateful to the ELCA and all our supporters, partners, and allies for their unwavering commitment to the rights of refugees!