The Rt Revd Andrew M. L. Dietsche, bishop diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, has added his voice to the call for churches to shelter Syrian refugees. The Pope, Roman Catholic and Anglican & Episcopal prelates have begun raising a chorus of admonitions for the parishes and religious houses in their jurisdictions to open their doors to the plight of the refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and the added terror that is ISIS.
In a letter to his diocese dated 11 SEP 2015, Bishop Andy, in reply to questions of what folks can do to assist in the plight of the refugees, has suggested donations to the diocese marked for refugee relief. But beyond that, he is encouraging parishes in the Diocese of NY to partner with Episcopal Migration Ministries and sponsor individuals and families.
But I would like to encourage parishes to do more, and to consider partnering with Episcopal Migration Ministries in offering sponsorship to a refugee or refugee family. The Episcopal Church has welcomed and resettled refugees from across the world since the nineteenth century. In 1940, in response to the Nazi oppression of Jewish and other refugees, the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief was founded, and Episcopal Migration Ministries is a daughter organization of PBFWR. The Refugee Act of 1980 opened the way for EMM and the Episcopal Church to formally engage the resettlement of refugees, and since then over 50,000 refugees have found safe haven in America, through the sponsorship of our churches and dioceses.
+Andy also shares the story of his prior good experience as a rector with a family sponsored by the Church of the Good Shepherd, West Springfield, MA.
One day we learned that a Muslim Bosnian family of four, from the refugee camp in Germany where they had spent the last nine years, was on their way to our town: to our church and to us. And we accepted certain obligations toward them. We made promises we had to keep. We said that we would take responsibility for them, and we did. And going on twenty years later, that family thrives in America and continues their membership as the one Muslim family in the Church of the Good Shepherd.
Please take the time to read the bishop’s letter in its entirety.