A statement from the Rev. E. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries

[Episcopal Migration Ministries] The director of Episcopal Migration Ministries, the Rev. E. Mark Stevenson, issued the following statement on June 26. 

A Statement from The Reverend Canon E. Mark Stevenson
Director, Episcopal Migration Ministries
26 June 2017

We learned this morning that the Supreme Court has decided to allow portions of the president’s executive order(s) regarding admission of foreign nationals in general, and refugees specifically, to move forward until a full hearing and ruling in the fall. While we await an official “sorting” of how today’s events will be implemented practically, in the coming days one thing we know for sure is that many who would have found safety, rest, and a chance for life in this country will now be left to fend for themselves in conditions that are far from hopeful.

Others have written, and will write more I am sure, on the legalities and logistics of this action.  I, myself, may well write or comment about those things in the coming days. But for now I choose to reflect as a person of faith who is looking for a way forward through these times.

I find myself drawn to one particular phrase in the Court’s pronouncement – that restricting admissions to those with close family or professional ties to the US and excluding all others “does not burden any American party”. While that may or may not be true from a legal standpoint, it most certainly is not true from where this American, this Christian, sits and reflects. I feel the burden tremendously, as our country says to those who are “other” that their suffering is less important than is mine. That seems to me to be decidedly un-Christ-like.

As a follower of Jesus, I hear his command to love and care for the poor, the stranger, and the persecuted. I see his example of suffering for the sake of others, even the laying down his life, to be a call for helping and not for fearful isolationism. I read Matthew 25, and feel led to see the face of God in all people. I read Luke 16, and fear that while I am one who has been graced to live in this country of freedom and wealth I am refusing nonetheless to share that grace with others. I read John 11, and see that Jesus weeps not only at his own pain but at the hurt of others as well and cannot help but see the redemptive power of that act.

Even if the government ultimately decides that we “may” discriminate against a person, the question for me is “should we?”


  1. Pjcabbiness says:

    It is time for the Episcopal Church to reject the progressive, false immigration narrative that is represented in this article. Whether we wish to admit it or not, Islam is and has been at war with our faith, our Jewish Brothers and Sisters, our nation and, quite frankly, anyone who does not agree with their clearly stated beliefs and objectives. To suggest that there is no evidence to support the idea that the mass migration of Muslim refugees into the West is a component of a larger strategy of conquest is naive. Our Muslim adversaries have failed to defeat us militarily, economically and ideologically. Therefore, a strategy of invasion by migration is being employed to essentially defeat our nation from within. As a Christian and an Episcopalian, I fully support the efforts of our President to act in a manner that seeks to protect the citizens of our free and prosperous nation. We should exercise caution in dealing with a totalitarian religion that seeks to destroy our faith, freedom and liberty. To do otherwise is, in my opinion, not consistent with our Biblical faith.

  2. Ronald Davin says:

    Should the ancient Romans have discriminated against the Goths ?

  3. Bill Louis says:

    The naivety of the Episcopal Church is astounding. What is wrong with proper vetting of refugees before allowing them into our country? There is plenty to do overseas if the EMM & the Episcopal Church is so bent on helping refugees. Perhaps Rev. Mark should take a trip and start there.

  4. Tim Reimer says:

    Yet you want to limit those who are persecuted within Islam from seeking refuge in our country. No one is asking to stop the process we have been following since 9/11. What has been improper in our vetting process? Our “Dear Leader Trump” has never explained what he thinks needs to be done other than HATE.

    • Doug Desper says:

      Tim — I don’t think that anyone is against relief, intervention, and assisting refugees. Our country has poured vast sums into this effort. So, yes, we’re lifting heavy loads yet again despite the claims that our nation isn’t. Notwithstanding, the Muslim-governed nations of the Middle East are not coming to the aid of their fellow Muslims in a manner consistent with what they claim is the compassion of true Islam, nor within the ability of their oil-rich nations’ national treasure. The Obama Administration admitted that the screening of Syrians was a very difficult and inaccurate task. The Syrians themselves also admitted that they cannot verify who is a refugee. Anyone with working eyes – including the Dalai Lama – have noticed multitudes of healthy looking males leaving the Islamic governed countries and flooding into Europe, and elsewhere. He even stated that Europe cannot “become Muslim” as note is taken of “no go zones” appearing all over Europe wherein Muslims demand to self-isolate and govern themselves according to Sharia Law. Ask the police. Something is amiss and does not add up about many of the people assumed to be refugees. Vetting makes sense, and having a true system of security and investigation in place comes first.

  5. June Krise says:

    Full vetting yes , banning no. America has always been
    Standing with outstretched arms. Give me your tired your poor.
    What would Jesus do? I think Rev. Stevenson is correct.

  6. Sylvia Forbes says:

    I agree with the Rev. Stevens, also.

  7. Diane Pyle says:

    I do not think that analyzing persons who want to come into the US is a sin or wrong. Other countries do likewise. Rev. Stevenson’s vocation is to interpret Scriptures and Presidents’ vocations are to look to try to ensure the safety of their country. In this time of history there is a worldwide problem of extremists who have done horrible harm worldwide. These actions are indeed a sin against mankind. This should be countered by all world leaders. Hopefully some day with God’s grace, we will come to that time when we can live in peace. In the meantime we have work to do – and this is done with charity and giving of our time and fortunes as we are taught to do.

  8. Jawaharlal Prasad says:

    If we talk to Middle East Muslims, they have a different take on the refugee crisis. The refugee crisis is a consequence of the US invasion of Iraq along with its allies to dislodge Saddam Hussein. From then on matters have gone from bad to worse. And so, the Muslims blame the US and the West, and expect these countries to take in the refugees. As would often be the case in difficult situations, it is the healthy ones who are often able to make the journey to greener pastures.
    We must keep in mind that Saddam did not bother the Christians in Iraq; the decimation of the Iraqi Christians began once Iraq was invaded. Both Christians and Muslims have at one time or another forcibly imposed their beliefs on society, those unwilling often paid with their lives. Muslims are more prone to integrate but not assimilate. Given the current hysteria, proper vetting of the refugees is all the more important. Whatever our differences, it is important “to love and care for the poor, the stranger, and the persecuted”.

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