As humans we care about injustice, pain, and suffering – even when it is far from us. Some of us connect emotionally. Others do not, but we still recognize that we have some power to help. We have limits to how much we can do. For this reason I often hesitate to jump on the “We should all ______” bandwagons. Nevertheless, there are real problems in the world that we can support. In Matthew 23, Jesus offers an eerie teaching that states His followers are those who inexorably helped the widow, the orphan, the one without clothes or food. We move to help when and where we can.
I have a good friend pastoring in Flint, Michigan. If this particular crisis stirs your heart, please consider praying and/or giving. Pete Scribner, their pastor, has a wonderful blend of justice and a desire to love well – in a sustainable way that begins the loving work of evangelism. He and I served together in Saint Louis for years and he is a dear brother.
When the Refugee crisis first swelled from a news standpoint, I researched the organizations in CT that can actually take in refugees. They needed end-tables at the time. Do you see how giant these problems are? I contacted a few folks who know more about this than I do, and it was not clear that we had a role as a church to me. I felt helpless, even as I prayed and gave a bit of money to an organization on the ground.
Our denomination has done good work getting folks on the ground providing tangible support and also some medium-length sustainable efforts to help the refugees.
Here is an email explaining two of the ways we are serving (and I say ‘we’ because if you give to Covenant Presbyterian Church, we have already sent along some money and that came from our general offering)
“Many of our churches have asked how they can help the refugees from Syria and other parts of the persecuted Middle East. I wanted to let you know how you can get involved through EPC efforts. Currently, we have two direct paths:
- EPC Syrian Refugee Relief Fund
- Provide Bibles in local language
- Provide food, clothing, medical, and discipleship materials to refugees
- Send language-fluent EPC disciple-makers to spend time with refugees
- Blanket Them With Hope Project (In this link is also a video about current efforts)
- Provide funding to offer training to refugee women in skills to make blankets for their family and income opportunity
- “Purchase” blankets from refugee women to cover the cost of the blanket and provide some income. Blankets would then be distributed locally to those in need.