On Saturday, January 28th, The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America “added her signature to an interfaith letter supporting refugee resettlement. Bishop Eaton joins more than 2,000 religious leaders of various faith traditions with a shared call, “to love our neighbor, accompany the vulnerable, and welcome the sojourner.”’ Bishop Claire Burkat of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has also added her signature to this letter as has Pastor Suloff. This letter, addressed to President Trump and Members of Congress, is in response to the recent executive orders from the federal government in regards to refugees and immigration.
The letter begins by noting that, “As religious leaders from a variety of backgrounds, we are called by our sacred texts and faith traditions to love our neighbor, accompany the vulnerable, and welcome the sojourner. War, conflict and persecution have forced people to leave their homes, creating more refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people than at any other time in history. More than 65 million people are currently displaced – the largest number in recorded history.” The letter continues by speaking to our national “moral responsibility to receive refugees and asylum seekers who are in dire need of safety,” recognition of our current “rigorous refugee screening process,” and our need to join “the world in seeking ways to meaningfully respond to the global refugee crisis”. The letter concludes by stating that, “as people of faith, our values call us to welcome the stranger, love our neighbor, and stand with the vulnerable, regardless of their religion. We pray that in your discernment, compassion for the plight of refugees will touch your hearts. We urge you to be bold in choosing moral, just policies that provide refuge for vulnerable individuals seeking protection.”
As people of faith we are called to love and serve our neighbors, welcome strangers, and share hospitality. Here at St. Peter’s we state that “we affirm that all people share the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God.” It is our hope that you will pray for those who have been displaced, those who have been and are being impacted by the recent executive orders, and for our local and national leaders that they might work together to build effective policy that will provide refuge, safety, and hope to the vulnerable individuals of this world seeking protection.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2