When Accompaniment Becomes a Calling
As the seasons change in Minnesota, I am keenly aware that winter brings even greater risks to the many refugees and migrants on the move in the Middle East and Europe. The number of families fleeing war and poverty is at an unprecedented level. I am certain you have been as moved as I have been by the ceaseless flow of persons trying desperately to get to the safety of new homes in Europe.
This Advent I plan to trim my holiday spending and dedicate additional money to support those who are most at risk in this refugee crisis. As global tensions increase I also pledge to write a letter each week to our representatives in Congress and to President Obama. I will advocate for an increase in humanitarian aid for those who have been displaced by war. Finally, I will also ask for serious consideration of the dignity & humanity of the Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in our country. I invite you to join me in these faith practices.
There are three easy ways to make financial contributions for those caught in the midst of the refugee crisis this Advent. One is to send money to Lutheran Disaster Response, dedicated to Middle East and Europe Refugee Crisis. Online donations can be made through www.ELCA.org or checks can be made out to Lutheran Disaster Response and sent to: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8009.
A second option is to direct gifts to Lutheran Mideast Development, for which St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in West Saint Paul serves as administrative office. LMD works directly with members of the Kurdish community, including the town of Kobani, where the residents have requested LMD's help to avoid becoming refugees. More information is available from The Rev. John Snider, at 651-457-6541. Donations to LMD can be sent to: LMD, 1575 Charlton Street, West St. Paul, MN 55118 or through the website www.Lutheran-Mideast.org.
The third option is to give through the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Donations can be made online throughwww.lirs.org/syria.
All three of these organization also provide resources for you to learn more about the current refugee crisis and what you can do to help.
Remembering the Holy Family in their flight to Egypt as refugees, knowing the generosity shown to many of our own families when they were immigrants and refugees, and stirred by the abundance of our lives, let us all find ways to reach out to our neighbors through these efforts or other projects that show God's care for those who have little and least.
Thank you for having hearts that are open to the needs of others.
Yours in God's service,
Bishop Patricia Lull