Phone calls, emails, and even messages on social media have been welling forth from the compassionate hearts of clergy and laity of United Methodist churches throughout Indiana.  Thank you to individuals, churches, districts, and leaders for all that you are doing to love and serve our new neighbors from Afghanistan.

Many of you have asked what is needed and what you can do to welcome guests at Camp Atterbury. You have made monetary donations, collected needed items, and taken time to serve at Camp Atterbury. The Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright, Conference Superintendent of the Central and West Districts, recently shared that “while there are immediate needs in the welcoming of our new neighbors, there will be long-term support required too.” I have no doubt that Indiana United Methodists are in this for the long haul, alongside many other faith-based partners and domestic and international humanitarian agencies.

UMCOR has partnered with Church World Service. Church World Service asks us to be in contact with Congress. They share: “Most of our new Afghan neighbors are entering the United States with “humanitarian parole,” which is temporary immigration relief and does not make them automatically eligible for refugee resettlement services. We need Congress to take action this month to ensure Afghan evacuees receive resettlement and integration services and have the chance to apply for legal permanent residence — and to ensure that our communities have the resources they need to provide these services.” Templates are already written and contact information is provided for senators and representatives for you to easily make a call or send an email here.

Once you have contacted Congress, continue loving our neighbors by:

The 2016 Book of Resolutions affirms that: “Christians do not approach the issue of migration from the perspective of tribe or nation, but from within a faith community of love and welcome, a community that teaches and expects hospitality to the poor, the homeless, and the oppressed” (p.550). Paragraph 162.H Rights of Immigrants in the 2016 Book of Discipline states: “We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.”

Rev. Dr. Fulbright’s words from her recent call out for the Central District continue to serve as a wonderful blessing for us all: “May the Light and Love of Christ be seen and shown through all of our efforts and support!” Well done, good and faithful servants! Thank you for the ways in which you have said yes and are being an encouragement to others.

Please continue to reach out with information about how you are serving and any questions and needs that you have. We are IN this together!

Rev. Jen Huff
Missions Coordinator
Diversity, Missions, and Justice Ministries
United Methodist Churches of Indiana