Walter: ‘We Reaffirm Our Commitment to Serve Refugees’

Syrian Refugees in 2014 United Nations photo.

CHICAGO, IL (January 29, 2017) – The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), which has been mobilizing resources for refugee resettlement amid the Syrian crisis, is assessing the rapidly changing developments regarding President Trump’s moratorium on refugees entering the United States from certain Middle Eastern countries.

The ECC and its local congregations have worked with partner organizations to serve refugees abroad as well as to resettle in the United States, and that work will continue, said Covenant president Gary Walter. The ECC is committed to living out the values of the kingdom by extending God’s compassion and mercy while pursuing biblical justice for everyone.

World Relief, one of the ECC’s principal partners on the ground, expressed disappointment over the refugee ban through a recently released statement calling for its quick overturn. Covenant World Relief (CWR), the ECC’s global humanitarian aid ministry, is primarily engaged in ministry to refugees outside the United States, and director David Husby expects that work to become even more urgent in the days to come.

We have the opportunity to provide safety to some of the world’s most oppressed and vulnerable families in Jesus’s name. It is crucial that we get going again as quickly as we can.

This fall, the Covenant Executive Board recognized the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as a new mission region for the ECC’s Serve Globally mission priority. One impetus was the desire of ECC congregations to have better pathways to participate in refugee resettlement from the region, as well as support persecuted Christians in MENA, many of whom are seeking refugee status. Covenant churches have a long tradition of supporting refugee resettlement efforts as a biblical mandate.

“Now more than ever, we reaffirm our commitment to serve the refugee families and individuals who have been forced into often horrific situations,” said Walter. “World Relief leaders have said it well—we do indeed live in a dangerous world and it is right to take security seriously. But compassion and security do not have to be mutually exclusive.”

Walter added that the political divisions in the U.S. and around the globe should not distract the church from its focus on serving the most vulnerable. “Most refugees from the Middle East are women and children who have suffered terribly. We have the opportunity to provide safety to some of the world’s most oppressed and vulnerable families in Jesus’s name. It is crucial that we get going again as quickly as we can.”

Click here for more information about the ECC’s various ministries to refugees.

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About the Author

Edward is an award-winning journalist and author. Besides being the executive minister of Communication at The Evangelical Covenant Church, he is author of Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epic Challenge to the Church and Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical’s Inside View of White Christianity. Ed’s mission, both professionally and personally, is to be a bridge-builder, bringing people together across racial, denominational, and cultural lines.

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