Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: “our ultimate security comes from God in Christ”

In an address a few days ago entitled, “Be Not Afraid!” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry responds to last week’s terror attacks in Paris and Beirut by urging us not to lose sight of our long commitment “to resettling refugees in our own communities fleeing violence and persecution.” He reminds us that God commands us to welcome the foreigner into our midst. As Christians, we are called to seek our ultimate security from God in Christ, not from border patrol.

This has been a distressing week, as we deal not only with the terror and grief of those attacks but also with the shame of hearing our politicians turn refugees away from our doorsteps. A couple and their five year-old son, who fled Syria in 2011, were scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis on Wednesday, only to be turned away by fear. They were taken in by the state of Connecticut, where the governor made excuses for us, saying “that people in the United States were generous and good people, but sometimes things happen elsewhere that cause people to forget about their generosity.” Is Hoosier Hospitality dead?

Maybe it is in the wider population, but I know that hospitality is not dead at Holy Trinity. For now, in this case, hospitality is a bit more complicated than simply bringing a dish to share. We can still participate financially in efforts by the Episcopal Migration Ministries to resettle refugees in other parts of the country. We can support Exodus Refugee, our local EMM Affiliate in Indianapolis. We can communicate our frustration and dismay to our political representatives.  Above all, we can, in the words of our presiding bishop, remember that:

The fear is real.  So we pray.  We go to church.  We remember who we are in Jesus.   Our resurrection hope is larger than fear.   Let nothing keep us from that hope, that faith, that security in Gods dream for all of humanity.

Amen.

Syrian Refugees

At our vestry meeting just the other day, we were discussing ways in which we might become more involved in global concerns. We’ve been focused pretty intently on the question of our own survival and the needs of our local neighborhood recently, and we were envisioning a time in the not too distant future when we might have the luxury of expanding our vision somewhat.

Randy brought up the Syrian refugee crisis. The plight of refugees attempting to cross Eastern Europe particularly touches our hearts on account of the Hungarian heritage of our parish. We were thinking that we might begin contributing in some small way to an organization working for refugee resettlement in the United States. We asked Randy to do some investigation of our options.

A few days later, Randy received the following notice from Notre Dame:

Syria Speaks: Syrian Refugee Amin Ahmed comes to Notre Dame
When: October 29th from 11:00am – noon
Where: DeBartolo 155

Please note: due to the danger faced by our guest no photos will be allowed at this event.

On October 29th we have the tremendous privilege of welcoming to our campus Syrian refugee and activist Amin Ahmed, who will tell us firsthand about the refugee crisis and do a Q&A. Come hear his voice on behalf of the millions of silenced refugees. After the Assad regime’s crackdown in 2011, Mr. Ahmed joined an effort to secretly aid wounded and sick civilians. When his work was discovered in 2012 he was forced to flee. Now in America, he has joined the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, a coalition of over 50 organizations who have combined forces to raise awareness and emergency funds for disaster relief agencies working on the ground in the Middle East.

He will be joined by Dr. Georgette Bennett, founder of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees and President of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. Dr. Bennett has also served in the U.S. State Department Religion and Foreign Policy initiative’s working group which developed recommendations for the Secretary of State on countering religion-based violence. Together they will share with us their unique perspective on the refugee crisis and tell us what we can do to help. Approximately 30 minutes will be available for Q&A.

Information about how to help refugees in the South Bend area will also be made available. Don’t miss this unique opportunity!

This event is cosponsored by the Graduate Theological Society at Notre Dame, the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley, and the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees.

I would encourage as many of you as are available to attend this event!