Faith in Action: An Early Response to Afghan Refugee Arrivals

August 28, 2021

FAITH IN ACTION:  An Early Response to Afghan Refugee Arrivals

Updated 09/23/2021

A FAITH-BASED RESPONSE

Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.  Leviticus 19:34 - CEB

All of us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, share this faith history. We are called to make room, offer hospitality, to listen to the voices, to treat others with dignity, to value one another, and recognize that everyone is an equal member of the community.

Over the next days and months, refugees from Afghanistan will be welcomed into our communities. We will continue to learn and share ways in which you and/or your local church can learn how we can better “love them as yourself.” As we are learning, sharing, and practicing life together, please be vigilant of the following and practice disrupting harm:

  • Racism and xenophobia that may arise within our own thoughts and from within the community.
  • Implicit or explicit biases, especially Anti-Muslim sentiments that may come up.
  • Scarcity mentality that polarizes us into an “us” and “them” mentality (i.e. If we ‘xzy’ for them, what about us.).
  • The blaming of spreading COVID and/or diseases by immigrants and refugees. 
  • Practice centering the voices and experiences of those who are directly impacted and not our own. 
  • Being in community with refugees from Afghanistan is an opportunity to live out our faith and share our lives with one another. Our lives are to be a living testimony and witness of our faith, but our work is not to proselytize. (i.e. expectation to become members of the church.) 

 

AN ECUMENICAL RESPONSE

On Thursday, Church World Services (CWS) met with over 60 leaders from a cross section of US partner denominations to discuss how best to respond to this crisis. United Methodist Church Bishops Minera Carcaño and Sally Dick were in attendance, along with Rev. Jack Amick with UMCOR. In her comments, Bishop Carcaño expressed her concern and commitment to work with the National Council of Churches and CWS. 

UMCOR is also prepared to assist with refugee resettlement through its partnership with Church World Service. Those interested in supporting the UMCOR-CWS partnership can make gifts online here "UMCOR Global Migration" or by checks with Advance #3022144 in the memo line. 

Checks may be sent to:
The Advance
458 Ponce De Leon Ave, NE 
Atlanta, GA 30308

A commitment to prayer, advocacy, funding, and hands-on community response will be required in the months and years to come to fill the gap between refugee arrival and building stability for families.  Below are some resources on how to start. We will continue to share information as we learn of them. We also encourage to you reach out to Rev. Janet Mulroy at jmulroy@mtnskyumc.org or Rev. Bich Thy (Betty) Nguyen at bnguyen@mtnskyumc.org if you have any resources or wisdom to share. Also, please reach out with questions as we continue to learn together.

 

FAITH IN ACTION:  What we can do now.  

  1. Build education and awareness on this issue. Below are multiple links to information on refugee resettlement.  
  2. Attend the CWS webinar : "Welcoming Afghan SIVs", Monday, August 30th 10:00-10:45 a.m. MDT.  This webinar will provide an update on the current needs of Afghan SIVs, how supporters can meet those needs and how to advocate on behalf of Afghans.
  3. Watch for more information as it develops here.  

 

RESOURCES:

Mountain Sky Conference
In Denver, CO learn how you can give material, money, or time to help in the effort. Please read more about How to Help Refugees in Colorado and the ways Denver is Preparing to Host Refugees from Afghanistan

In Missoula, MTInternational Rescue Committee in Missoula and Soft Landing - Missoula provide services such as housing, enrolling children in school, and job resources.

In Salt Lake City, UT International Rescue Committee is working alongside communities and partners to support Afghans living in Utah. 

UMC
UMCOR Global Migration - Global Ministries
UMC Justice: Global Migration
 
CWS – Church World Service
Welcoming Afghan SIVs
Afghan Special Immigrant Visa and Refugee Program | CWS
FAQ on Afghans Seeking Refuge
5 Ways To Support Afghans Seeking Refuge
Take Action: Urge the Administration to Protect Afghans Seeking Safety and Protection | CWS
 
Refugee Council USA
Afghanistan
 

STORIES:

Colorado Springs Church Preparing to Welcome Family from Afghanistan
Afghanistan's Humanitarian Crisis: Critical Issues of Hunger and Development Must Be Addressed