Aware of the special challenges refugees, migrants, and displaced persons face, ELCA World Hunger has long supported companions and partners that work with people who have been forced to leave their homes for a variety of reasons. Partners like Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) are critical actors in this work.
Donald Trump’s recent executive order to halt refugee resettlement in the United States for 120 days has elicited concern, fear, anger, and confusion from members of the ELCA, our ecumenical partners and our international companions. In response, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton released a statement reminding Lutherans and other Christians of our gospel call “to welcome the stranger and treat the sojourner as we would our own citizens.” At this point in time, we may also be reminded of Martin Luther’s admonition to preachers:
“Those who are in the office [of ministry] and are called to do so shall rebuke their [rulers] boldly and openly…To rebuke rulers is not seditious, provided it is done in the way here described: namely, by the office by which God has committed that duty, and through God’s Word, spoken publicly, boldly, and honestly.”
Below are some key resources that may be useful to those called to “speak publicly, boldly, and honestly” about the recent executive order and its effects.
- ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton affirms the ELCA’s commitment “to continuing ministries of welcome that support and build communities around the country and stand firmly against any policies that result in scaling back the refugee resettlement program.”
- The Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance jointly issued a statement, calling the ban “an abysmal failure of compassion and responsibility.” LWF also has a short video with a powerful reminder: “Refugees lose many things when they flee, but never their human rights.”
- ELCA’s Social Message on Immigration (1998)
- ELCA World Hunger offers some food for thought in this blog post on Lutheran faith and refugees.
- Hear the story of the Kafley family resettling in Chicago, Illinois, thanks to support from ELCA World Hunger and RefugeeOne.
- Learn how St. Andrew’s Refugee Service in Cairo, Egypt, accompanies refugee youth with warm meals, psychosocial support and education.
- Hear the reactions of refugees awaiting resettlement as they get news of the ban in Dadaab, the largest cluster of refugee camps in the world.
- Advocate for change. Join ELCA Advocacy in lifting your voice in support of refugees and migrants by participating in this critical advocacy action. Visit Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), a long-time partner of ELCA World Hunger, and learn steps you can take to advocate for refugees and migrants.
- The intercessory prayer for February 5, 2017, from Sundays and Seasons is particularly timely and scripturally relevant, for those with a subscription. For those without a subscription, LIRS offers some great resources for remembering refugees in your worship and prayers.
- Support the ongoing accompaniment of refugees and many other programs made possible by gifts to ELCA World Hunger. Through ELCA World Hunger, this church supports needed programs in refugee camps, protection and advocacy for migrants and refugees, and resettlement efforts through our network of companions and partners. Consider ELCA Good Gifts, such as feeding a refugee family for one week or for one month.
 Luther’s “Commentary on Psalm 82,” Luther’s Works vol. 13, pages 49-51. Quoted in Carter Lindberg, “Luther and the Common Chest,” in Carter Lindberg and Paul Wee, eds., The Forgotten Luther: Reclaiming the Social-Economic Dimension of the Reformation (Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press, 2016.)