March for Refugees: Pray, Act and Walk

February 1, 2017

[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland]

March for Refugees: Pray, Act and Walk
February 1, 2017

“Cursed is the one who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow. Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!'”

Deuteronomy 27:19

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Do you know what it feels like to be rejected – not for anything you’ve done, but because of fear of your skin color, religious faith, orientation or national origin?

I have…and it doesn’t feel good. Rejection makes you feel unworthy, lonely and angry.

It’s even worse if you’re rejected by a nation that likes to pride itself for providing safe harbor for refugees.  When you and your family are desperately trying to escape violence, war, poverty and oppression, and a country rejects you, it makes you feel like you’re just a worthless piece of refuse that can be thrown or shipped away.  You and your family have been rejected because of what others have done who look like you, and your life just doesn’t seem to matter that much to alter the equation of injustice.

One of the driving forces in my ministry is to lead by word and example the Gospel, the “good news” of Jesus Christ, that God loves you – not the bad news that the world rejects you because of who you are.

There’s simply too much fear and hate that’s driving much of our national agenda now, and those emotions are the opposite of Christian faith and the values of our nation.

As your bishop, I stand with thousands of Christian leaders opposing the executive order by President Trump to ban refugees from some predominantly Muslim countries. For more background on this ill-advised policy please read the statement from The Episcopal Church’s President of the House of Deputies.

That’s why I’m asking you to join me this Saturday, February 4, 9:00 AM for a “March for Refugees.” We’ll begin at Old St. Paul’s Church, 233 North Charles Street, Baltimore, march up Charles Street to the Cathedral of the Incarnation, 4 East University Parkway. At 11:00 AM we’ll have a service of prayer, music and testimony ending by Noon. Further details are below.

If you can’t march Saturday, you can still act by “praying with your hands.” Write or call your elected representatives in Congress and President Trump. Tell them your thoughts about our nation’s stance against those seeking refuge. Be sure to stress your values as a follower of Christ. How to contact them and a sample letter or script are on the Episcopal Church website.

Let’s stop the hate. As Christians, let’s stand up to fear, bigotry and injustice.  Clergy, wear your collars. Parishioners, bring your signs and singing voices. Let’s walk, speak out and pray for refugees – the “strangers” in our world whom the Bible tells us to receive as Christ himself.

Faithfully yours,
The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Episcopal Bishop of Maryland