I submitted a petition to the Indiana United Methodist Annual Conference for the first time this year. This petition is titled “Welcoming the Migrant In Our Midst,” the petition can be read via the link below. This submission comes from my powerful and heartbreaking experiences with immigrant and refugee families in Indiana. Unfortunately the Annual Conference session ran out of time before this and many resolutions made it to the floor for conversation and a vote. If it would have made it the floor, here is what I would have said:
Meridian Street, Indianapolis
As the submitter of this petition, I would like to share that this petition is simply about the welcome and hospitality of Christ for all people across Indiana, whether they enter our nation as refugees or immigrants. Migrants have been fleeing war torn nations and places filled with extreme poverty and hunger. They are looking for safety and hope. We are to live out the Greatest Commandment to love God and love neighbor no matter where that neighbor comes from. This is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our day and we need to at least say something and maybe even act. When I hear of another immigrant family being broken apart or of a boat capsizing filled with refugees I mourn. When I see a little boy flee Syria and end up on the shore lifeless I see my son. I cannot remain silent and I call Indiana United Methodists to act on behalf of refugee and immigrant families.
I have been blessed by a congregation who has welcomed the migrant. My congregation has also been greatly blessed by our work with the Syrian community and especially a Syrian refugee family who waited nearly 2 years to find a safe place to live, work, and grow. The four refugee children shared recently that they are now able to sleep without gunfire or bombs bursting down the street.
People from throughout the Middle East especially Syria, Africa, and Latin America are fleeing violence and uncertainty to have safety and peace. Our congregations throughout Indiana should be reaching out to refugees and immigrants in love and grace. We should be speaking out against the xenophobic and racist acts and attitudes against our brothers and sisters in Indiana from around the world.
This petition calls each congregation and the staff of the Annual Conference to work together to welcome everyone in the name of Jesus Christ. I will make sure that the Syrian Muslim community, the Immigrant Welcome Center, Exodus Refugee (that resettles refugees in Indiana), and other organizations and communities will see the statement we make today. Even if they never set foot in a Methodist church, they’ll know they are loved and supported by this vote today.
Let us take a stand for refugees and immigrants and say with with one voice, “No matter where you’re from, you are welcome in United Methodist Churches of Indiana”.