Presiding Bishop: “I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption’

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has released the following statement.

Mark 12:31: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Leviticus 19:34: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Numbers 15:15:  One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord.”

Deuteronomy 10:19: “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

On Saturday, the Washington National Cathedral hosted the National Prayer Service for the President, Vice-President, their families, and those who will be taking on the grave responsibility nominated to cabinet posts. Religious leaders from many traditions joined their voices in prayer and song, and while we shared our most sacred scriptures, we prayed for wisdom for all those who serve our nation. I affirm those prayers,and ask that our leaders listen to the powerful call to serve those who are most vulnerable in continuing to welcome refugees from around the world.

As Christians, we are asked to pray: for our leaders, for our loved ones, for our enemies, and for those who are suffering. Our work does not end with prayer: we also offer assistance to those who are fleeing persecution. We find homes for those who have been forced out of their homes. We feed those who are hungry. The refugees who enter the United States do so after experiencing violence and persecution undeserved of any human being, and they come to the U.S. with hopes to build new lives.

Refugee resettlement is a form of ministry, and one that we, and many other churches and faith-based organizations, cherish. The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries is God’s work, and we show the face of God through the care and compassion in that work. I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption, recognizing the long wait and screening process that means refugees wait months and sometimes years to enter the country. We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is greater than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance.

Our Book of Common Prayer asks for God to “look with compassion on the whole human family;” to “break down the walls that separate us and unite us in bonds of love.” On Saturday, we prayed for God our Father to look with compassion upon the widowed and orphans, outcasts and refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger. We pray to love one another as God loves us. I echo that prayer now and ask that we may work together to build a more grace and compassion-filled world.


  1. John Merchant says:

    I trust a copy was sent to the White House, otherwise the president won’t even hear about it from those with whom he surrounds himself.

  2. Linda Garrish Thomas says:

    Sadly, I feel we will have to do more than prayer (Yes that too), but we MUST stand up and speak for/with ALL those whom it clearly appears Donald Trump is out to further oppress. We must be a very visible ‘Jesus Movement”!!!!!

    • Rebecca Trexler says:

      This is a great first step–thank you! I hope you will continue to speak, pray, and act on this and so many other issues raised by this president. My little church and its leadership appear to be stymied on ways to speak about and lead on these issues for fear of antagonizing a few. Your speaking out will, I hope, bring courage to them and to all of us. So many of us are traumatized but doing our best in prayer and action. Thank you so much for leading us in God’s love.

    • jenna rogers says:

      why is it up to the united states to take all these people in?

      • Michael Wainwright says:

        The U.S. is being asked to take only a small fraction of the refugees. Other countries are taking far more of those who seek to escape certain death. We have the capacity to do far more. We should have the love to step up.

  3. Maria Miller says:

    I remember PB Katherine at the Prayer Vigil for President Obama, there is a photo of it in her book, which she signed for me, such a proud moment indeed. I was so disappointed our PB Curry wasn’t able to participate or even attend the same type service for President Trump this past Saturday. Perhaps it would have served as an opportunity to voice these concerns.

  4. Elizabeth Winternitz says:

    Now that the President has proposed to limit all refugees entering the US to 50,000, and to no longer accept Syrian refugees, what is the response of the Episcopal Church?

  5. Marianne Elrick says:

    Not only Syrians but also Iraqis who helped the United States forces, Muslim graduate student with a scholarship to study at Yale etc. When did we become so fearful and angry. I agree prayer is wonderful but in these times our voices should be heard against bigotry and fear. Let us not make the mistake of turning away those who seek refuge. Remember the voyage of St. Louis. How will our Christian community get involved showing our displeasure to our government ‘s unchristian act.

  6. jenna rogers says:

    Why do we assume that these refugees should be settled in the US where they don’t know the language or the culture? It has to be very uncomfortable for them. Are we so egotistical to think that we are the only ones who can care for them? We can’t even help our homeless or our veterans yet feel we can take in the rest of the world. There are other countries closer to their homelands with the wealth and means to take care of them much better than we can. Charity starts at home. until you can take care of your own you have no business taking care of everyone else especially when it can be done much more efficiently elsewhere.

    • Steve Bartlett says:

      A helpful Scriptural reflection, perhaps, Jenna: Luke 10:25-37 inviting us to ask ourselves just who is our neighbor and about whom we might want to be concerned…

  7. Swede Nelson says:

    We have homeless veterans, we have a higher level of poverty now, we have greater numbers on food stamps, etc., etc., and we are to take on peoples that Arab countries will not take on themselves? How many refugees has United Arab Emirates taken in? Same question for Bahrain and other Arab neighbors in the Middle East? Seven countries of 30-plus are involved, and those countries were first identified by the Obama administration in 2011. Yes, the implementation of the Executive Order was poor at best, but it is being fixed. Now let’s move on — remove ourselves from problem thinking and get into solution thinking for EVERYBODY in our global environment, NOT just the U.S.A.

  8. Quinton M Johansen says:

    The vetting process is plenty strong, we had an IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigration Service) based in New Haven, CT come and speak at our church about refugee resettlement in CT. Believe me the vetting process is detailed and very thorough. Re read the scriptures at the beginning. No ambiguity at all. The stranger is us. We can welcome the stranger AND take care of our own. God is very clear on that.

  9. Sharon Miller says:

    The challenge is to speak one’s mind with the love of Christ. I am trying to understand the point of view that says it is alright to bar people at the airport when they have been vetted, when they have green cards, when they have established lives here. If this is alright, how are you willing to have your life disrupted? What rights would you be willing to give up until “things were figured out.” Would anyone like to be part of or experience that type of insecurity? Please help me understand a point of view that overlooks how this threatens all.

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