Syrian refugee crisis: MA Episcopal bishops call for prayer and response

Posted on ; Filed under News

bishop clipart2rightcolors

Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts issued on Sept. 16 the following call for prayer and response regarding the Syrian refugee crisis:

We request your continuing prayers for the millions of refugees fleeing from civil war-torn Syria. Over the past four years, these refugees have streamed into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Among them have been our sister and brother Syrian Christians fleeing persecution in the terrible rise of ISIS.

Many members of the congregations of this diocese have supported refugee assistance through contributions to Episcopal Relief & Development, Episcopal Migration Ministries, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (which comprises Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, plus Palestine and Israel) and other agencies. We urge continued generosity to these organizations as the crisis deepens.

The continuing widespread violence in Syria has caused an escalation of refugees now seeking to enter Europe. Daily accounts of the tragic deaths and the horrible conditions they face call for a more concerted effort to provide relief. The archbishop of Canterbury and our presiding bishop have reminded us of Jesus’ call to assist the “widows, orphans and the sojourner” in our midst. We commend to you especially the Sept. 14 statement by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, which includes suggestions for congregational and individual response, and numerous helpful links.

Now that President Barack Obama has also announced that the U.S. will welcome 10,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months, your bishops invite congregations of the Diocese of Massachusetts prayerfully to consider whether they are called to sponsor Syrian individuals and families here in the Commonwealth as an act of compassion grounded in our baptismal vows. In the near future further information, resources and suggestions for sponsorship and the practicalities of supporting refugees will be sent to all clergy and parishes.

In the meantime please continue to pray for the victims of injustice, oppression and violence in Syria and throughout the world, and give generously to Episcopal Relief & Development to support relief efforts in Europe and the Middle East.

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan

September 16, 2015