Syrian crisis demands humanitarian response
As Christians we cannot stand with the ban on refugees called for by President Trump. Our Williamsville congregation has devoted uncounted hours and dollars to resettling refugees. We began with Hungarian refugees after the Soviet invasion and Vietnamese boat people. We aided Ethiopians when serving on the founding board of Journey’s End Refugee Services in the 1980s. Our volunteer health professionals have counseled traumatized refugees.
Our mission budget now includes contributions to both Journey’s End and Catholic Charities resettlement programs. Volunteers cleaned and furnished an apartment for an arriving Eritrean family and purchased new boots and other gifts in December.
Every international crisis produces a wave of people who are displaced and endangered. A humanitarian response to these is demanded in the repeated scriptural admonition to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien.
Until Iraqi Christians joined us, few of these refugees have been of our religion. We are enriched by learning about the differences and commonalities of different religions. Becoming acquainted with our Muslim neighbors through the Walk of Abraham and meals together, we have discovered the shared value we place on climate justice and feeding the hungry. We are grateful to learn that County Executive Mark Poloncarz participated in the Islamic Society town hall last month.
We call upon all officials and others to understand the deeply held values that underlie international humanitarian standards for asylum and to act promptly for justice.
Ann J. Eisenlord
Patricia K. Townsend
Rev. William T. Hennessy