****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****
Statement from Stephan Bauman – President of World Relief
Date: September 21, 2015
WORLD RELIEF, LOCAL CHURCHES STAND READY TO WELCOME MORE REFUGEES
“The American church is ready and willing to extend open arms to those fleeing war and terror in the Middle East, without discrimination. Whether it’s hosting refugees in our own country, or supporting churches serving them in other countries, the Church has chosen to act.”
Stephan Bauman, World Relief
Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States will increase the number of refugees admitted into the United States from the current level of 70,000 to 85,000 in Fiscal Year 2016. I’m encouraged by this step, and World Relief stands ready to equip our local church partners to welcome refugees as they arrive.
However, as Secretary Kerry acknowledged, 85,000 refugees next year pales compared to the scope of the need, as the world faces the worst refugee crisis since World War II. World Relief continues to urge the U.S. government to accept 200,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year. Each should undergo the thorough vetting and background checks currently in place to ensure that those admitted meet the legal definition of a refugee and pose no threat to our nation’s security; we urge Congress to appropriate sufficient funds to ensure that these checks are done expeditiously. At the same time, World Relief is on the ground in Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq, equipping local churches to respond to the needs of refugees in those regions most impacted by this crisis.
As we have done for decades—having partnered with the U.S. State Department and with local churches to resettle more than 250,000 refugees—World Relief welcomes refugees of all religious traditions without discrimination. Our approach is guided by our own commitment to the biblical commands to practice hospitality and to love our neighbors. Jesus’ own words make clear that our “neighbor” should not be defined in narrow ethnic or religious terms, but to all who are in need.
The arrival of refugees provides an opportunity for local churches in the U.S. both to stand with persecuted Christians—who make up a significant minority of those displaced from Syria, and the plurality of all refugees admitted to the U.S. in recent years—and to treat with compassion and respect those of other religions, practicing Jesus’ “Golden Rule” by treating others as we would want to be treated if we were forced to flee our country. We believe that each person, regardless of their faith, was made in the Image of God and possesses inherent dignity and potential.
As Christians, we cannot be driven by fear, but must take to heart one of the most frequent commands in Scripture, to “be not afraid,” trusting that “perfect love casts out fear.” Our motivation must be the compassionate hospitality that we believe was personified for us in Jesus Christ.
President/CEO – World Relief
Contact: Matthew Soerens // firstname.lastname@example.org // 920.428.9534