Barbara Ruhe, whom we featured in April’s newsletter, shared the message she sent to her elected officials about continuing to welcome Syrian refugees. Her family’s story of migration and her Lutheran faith, she writes, compel her to advocate for welcome:
“I am the granddaughter of refugees, I am the daughter of a refugee–I know the reasons they came from Germany before World War I, after World War I and after World War II.
“I think that Germany has been open to welcoming refugees because they have a true understanding of what being a refugee means up close and personal. I think that Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor and Joachim Gauck, the German president and a former Lutheran pastor have had the political courage to welcome the stranger because that welcome is a place where politics and faith separates and faith prevails.
“At this juncture, in this time and place it is my faith that prevails over my politics–I refuse to live in fear, I refuse to condone fanning the flames of fear–I know that we are all being challenged by the events of the day, we have many in need here, needs I am very familiar with–but those fleeing war and political oppression have a greater need, so we must do what we can to at least give them safety so they might survive. We are dealing with a kind of Holocaust–let us not close our doors like we did before. Ultimately good prevails over evil, but we must have the faith and the courage to promote the good.”
Many of us have our own family histories as refugees or immigrants, and current events lead us to reflect on our own stories of migration and welcome.
These stories can help our state and local government officials understand what their communities believe to be important. Even at the federal level, our voices matter. If you feel drawn to share, please visit our action center.
Our churches can also be places to share our perspectives with neighbors and friends. A Refugee Sunday event is one way to engage your congregation in learning and contemplation. We have many resources available for you to use with members of your church and community.