Bishop: Welcome the Stranger

The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche, Bishop of New York, urges parishes to become involved in helping refugees from Syria and similar countries:

We are researching the best avenues for getting donations directly and safely to the places where the need is greatest, and those who would like to join in this effort are encouraged to send monetary donations to the Diocese of New York, either by check marked for refugee relief, or online by credit card at

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.

I am taking the immediate demands of this refugee crisis as an opportunity to commend EMM to your parishes, but I want to say that the current flood of Syrians moving toward or into Europe is just a fraction of the 60 million displaced persons around the globe, over 20 million of whom have fled across borders as refugees in search of a safe place to live. Should your church make this self-offering, you may be asked to sponsor a Syrian refugee family, or you may be asked to sponsor refugees from elsewhere in the world, but either way, you will know what it means to touch and relieve the true suffering and real needs of desperate people; what it means to welcome the stranger at the gate.

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