Immigration Refugee and Asylum Resettlement and Mentoring

Excerpt: PC(USA) ministries call on members to reject asylum reductions
Advocacy & Social Justice July 23, 2019
Trump administration expected to call for zero refugee admissions in 2020
by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

The Washington-based PC(USA) Office of Public Witness issued an Action Alert Friday calling on members to contact their congressional representatives.

“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and many other faith traditions are utterly appalled that the current administration would advocate for the United States to deny support and aid to people who need it the most,” the alert said. “As people who care about refugees, we must demand that Members of Congress publicly denounce this proposal and weigh in with the administration directly, urging them to commit to resettling 95,000 refugees (the historic average) next year.”

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance also has a variety of resources on its Refugee Ministry page, including information on how the church works directly with refugees and asylum seekers and how congregations can participate.
The Office of Immigration Issues offers a guide to what the church is asking of representatives, including points like, “Protect the asylum process. Do not place limitations on what is allowed under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Stop imposing wait times at ports of entry that serve to manufacture crisis that make people choose between homelessness and irregular entry into the U.S.”

The Office also provides a postcard people can fill out and send to their representatives and suggests activities such as postcard-writing gatherings.

For complete posting, please see here.


Stated Clerk issues statement on executive order regarding family separation at U.S. border
Nelson calls on Presbyterians to "harvest tears" into action

Office of the General Assembly - June 28, 2018

The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II, stated clerk of the General Assembly, has issued a statement in response to the executive order issued on June 20, 2018, by the president of the United States.  Nelson points out that, though Joseph's call to flee to Egypt has long since passed. "People are still in danger. People still flee into the night to find safety..."

The Stated Clerk calls on Presbyterians to, "Take the tears you have shed and harvest them into acts of peaceful resistance, advocacy, pastoral care, and prayer to bring about peace for the hundreds of families suffering from this nation’s border policies." 

Full text of statement HERE.

PC(USA) Speaks Out About Immigration Policy Separating Families

Wondering what PC(USA) is saying about the current administration’s immigration policy of separating children from their parents?  Our Stated Clerk Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II asks: "What has this nation become? How have we wandered so far from Jesus’ kind admonition, Let the little children come to me … for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs?" He further declares that: “What makes matters worse is the audacity of quoting the Apostle Paul’s admonition to believers in Romans 13:1 to obey the law (presumably whatever the law says), while ignoring the higher scriptural demand that love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10)."  Check out his full statement at

Rev. Jimmy Hawkins, PCUSA Office of Public Witness, states that: "As people of faith, we must stay focused on policy that promotes family unity and reunification and halt the use of family separation as a deterrent....The pain of being separated from a parent can cause immeasurable and long-term harm to the emotional and mental well-being of a child." He suggests taking the following action:
From the General Presbyter
June 27, 2019
Brothers and Sisters,
All around us, we are hearing news of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raiding homes of suspected undocumented immigrants and taking them into custody. The news outlets reported that the current US administration identified ten cities across the country for these raids: Baltimore is one of them. 
There are congregations and communities in our Presbytery deeply impacted by this policy. Members of these churches have served, worked and prayed alongside of those affected and may be seeking resources for those who find themselves seeking to support their immigrant neighbors. We would like to offer these resources listed at the bottom of the page.
Regardless of your political stance, I believe we all can affirm the words from our Book of Confessions: “We trust in God, whom Jesus called Abba, Father. In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community.” 
(From the Brief Statement of Faith, PCUSA Book of Confessions)
In these trying and uncertain times, may we remember to treat all people with dignity and respect, love as Jesus loved and foster communities free from fear promoting hope and justice.
Jackie Taylor
General Presbytery
Below you will find a few different resources that have been developed specifically to help congregations in their discernment and provision of immigrant support ministries. We know that congregations within Baltimore Presbytery have different levels of connection and relationship to immigrant members of their community. So if you have questions or need resources that aren’t included below, please feel free to contact Susan Krehbiel, It is never too late for you and your congregation to consider what you can do to learn more and to be better neighbors to our immigrant brothers and sisters.
Initial Thoughts
Talking about your immigration status is not always an easy thing, especially in our current climate. There can be a lot of fear, shame and even confusion about one’s own immigration status. For these reasons and more, most undocumented people live in the shadows and it is not uncommon for children to not know their parents’ status (or their own), much less friends, neighbors, pastors or fellow church members. 
When widespread threats are made against the immigrant community, they are not just felt by undocumented immigrants. Other immigrants, particularly persons of color or whose first language is other than English, can feel particularly vulnerable. You can’t tell someone’s immigration status by looking at them.  Indeed, large scale immigration raids often pick up people who are “legal” – lawful permanent residents, refugees, US citizens, who may be held for several days before they are released.
Please consider prayerfully how you might be able to support someone within your congregation or your community in a time of fear and uncertainty.
-Susan Krehbiel, Social Justice Consultant
Know Your Rights and Legal Services
1.     Basic Know Your Rights Instructions in English is available for download.
2.     Know Your Rights in other languages is available from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
3.     Know Your Rights Workshop by Catholic Charities in Baltimore City, on June 30th at 9:30 a.m. flyer (in Spanish)
4.     List of Local Legal Service Providers in Baltimore Presbytery
PCUSA Resources
  1. General information about Presbyterian Church (USA) policies related to immigration
  2. A Family Care Plan helps parents organize important information about themselves and their family that may be needed in the event of detention, including how to make arrangements for the care of their children. Plan Familiar en Español.
  3. Some questions for immigrants to ponder when faced with potential detention or deportation.
  4. If you want to go deeper, read how one church in East Iowa developed a response to their immigrant neighbors which has grown into a whole new ministry, Iowa WINS


The Ark and Dove mission ministry has partnered with Baltimore’s International Rescue Committee (IRC) to mentor a refugee family. This mentorship program aims to help refugee families become better integrated into American culture through English language practice, cultural exchange, and support from church members. We’ve selected a young Burmese family to mentor; this will be a six-month commitment. For more information or to get involved, contact Debbie Arey, team leader, at or 508-579-7748. For more information on IRC Baltimore, please visit

PPF Statement on Syria


Last week, on April 4, we began to see images of Syrian children and adults in agony from the illegal chemical weapon sarin that was dropped by the Assad regime on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province. Then, two days later, Trump ordered an airstrike against a Syrian air base without congressional approval.

With Presbyterians and people around the United States and the world, PPF condemns these attacks. This act of war and aggression by the United States goes against our faith and our Presbyterian values, and it does not make us or Syrians safer. In June, the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA) passed the Five Peacemaking Affirmations, which includes the following statement:

We place our faith, hope, and trust in God alone. We renounce violence as a means to further selfish national interests, to procure wealth, or to dominate others. We will practice boldly the things that make for peace and look for the day when ‘they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.’

No one denies that something must be done in Syria. The chemical attacks in Idlib are horrific, as were the attacks in Ghouta in 2013 and in other Syrian towns, as is the barrel-bombing that occurs almost daily and the imprisonment and torture of political figures by the Assad regime. Assad’s regime is not the only one at fault, but violence by ISIS, Russia, the United States, and other groups has also been responsible for civilian deaths. All of these groups together have killed or injured almost 11% of the population over the last six years, and millions have fled as refugees and millions more are internally displaced.

However, continued violence in Syria will not bring peace, and it is a lie of empire to say that it will. As we continue moving through Holy Week toward Good Friday, we recognize the face of the crucified Christ in the faces of the Syrians who have been killed in the violence of the last six years, and we say "no more!"

It is not up to those of us who are citizens of the United States to determine how to bring about peace or what that peace should look like for Syria. That is for Syrians to determine, and it is our calling as as non-Syrian Christians to be in solidarity with Syrians by following their leadership, as Activist Council member Don Mead outlined in PPF’s “Confronting the Crisis in Syria: A Peace-Seeker’s Perspective.

Solidarity with Syrians is more than a statement--it is a commitment to just peace: scaling up trauma healing, restorative justice, unarmed civilian protection, and transformative dialogue with all stakeholders involved in the conflict (as outlined in the interfaith “Call for an End to the War in Syria” to which PPF signs). Solidarity demands allowing Syrian refugees into the United States as an immediate response and working with European countries to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees as well.

As Christians who continue to discern God’s call to be in solidarity with the Syrian people, we call upon the US government to stop bombing Syria. We condemn the airstrike last week, the death it caused, and the economic and political profit it brought to Trump. We call upon the Trump administration to cease attempts at blocking Syrian refugees from entering the United States and cease all acts of war against Syria. We call upon Presbyterian churches to embody our commitments to peacemaking and speak against war and further violence in Syria by our government.

We pray for a resurrection-story in Syria as we approach Easter, where life breaks through death, freedom through repression, and hope through despair.

What can you do?

  • Contact your representatives of Congress and the White House and tell them that, as a person of faith, you oppose the airstrike last week and any further acts of war against Syria and you support increasing the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the United States

    • Call 202-456-1111 to leave a message for the White House and mail a letter to The White House / 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW / Washington, D.C. 20500

    • Call 202-224-3121 or click here to find your representatives by your zip code

  • Pray for Syria and talk about the Christian calling to be peacemakers in your worship

  • Support Syrian refugees in your community. Get to know them and their stories.


TAKE ACTION TODAY: Tell Congress & the White House that you OPPOSE the Administration's executive order that suspends refugee resettlement & discriminates against people from certain countries
Dear Friends and Members of Ark and Dove,   

In 2017, the Session (our team of leaders) has been taking a close look at Scripture. At our first meeting of the year, we looked at how the Bible uses the word "justice." We read together, in our February meeting, over 20 biblical texts commanding us to care for the orphan, widow, and foreigner. Steeped in Scripture, we were disheartened to hear of two executive orders issued this year to ban people from six Muslim-majority countries, temporarily stop refugee resettlement, and dramatically reduce the number of refugees welcomed by the U.S. Given our Bible study and our increasing awareness of the dire plight of people fleeing home for safety, these orders are strikingly unjust and contradict the call of our sacred texts.

In response we have endorsed a statement, written by a leader of our congregation, that opposes the executive orders based on our call "to welcome and love the stranger in the name of Jesus." You can read the statement below. It will be sent to Maryland representatives. We are ready to endorse such a statement because we are backing it with action by partnering up with other churches to care for refugees in Anne Arundel County. We join a cloud of witnesses opposing these orders. The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness has issued a similar statement yesterday. In addition, a group of Presbyterian ministers have written a faith statement that reads: "We commit to welcome and protect refugees and immigrants." You can read that here.

We are grateful to be a part of a congregation that responds to Scripture with action. We look forward to where Christ will lead us, however hard it may be. Come this Sunday to see just how welcoming we are as we celebrate 10 new members joining the church!

Pastor Tim and Pastor Jon and 
Statement on Orders to Ban Refugees' Entry into the U.S.
Statement on Orders to Ban Refugees' Entry into the U.S.
We, the Session of Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church, oppose the Executive Orders issued on January 27, 2017, and March 6, 2017, suspending the United States Refugee Admissions Program and barring the resettlement of refugees from six majority-Muslim nations.  We also oppose the 2015 stand Governor Hogan has taken on denying Syrian refugee resettlement in Maryland.  These bans are ostensibly to protect us from terrorists entering the United States and Maryland.  Instead, they serve to harm victims of terrorism, genocide, religious persecution, and civil war.  

These governmental actions also serve to deny our congregation the opportunity to welcome and love the stranger in the name of Jesus.  The congregation of Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church had started to work with World Relief, an organization that specializes in refugee services.  Due to the Trump Administration order to drastically reduce the number of refugees, World Relief will be forced to close its Glen Burnie, Maryland office on May 31, as well as other offices around the nation.  Maryland has lost invaluable experience and organization in serving refugees, and nine Marylanders have lost their jobs. As this situation illustrates, these orders have a negative economic impact and are harmful to the livelihoods of our community members.

It is a miscarriage of justice to deny those who have been fully vetted by a legal refugee entry process from being denied homes in Maryland and the United States due to their religious affiliation.  We at Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church stand ready to welcome our new neighbors of all faiths and nations.


Donna Anderson, Christine Caufield-Noll, Kim Champagne, Steve Debus, Ellen Makar (Clerk of Session), Greg Makar (Moderator of Deacons), Reverend Jon Nelson, Ryan Stavely, Reverend Tim Stern (Head of Staff), Wendy Wellington and Rob Yeager

Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church, a 280-member congregation founded in 1992, is located in Odenton, MD.  

We Choose Welcome! Take Action for Refugees!



TAKE ACTION TODAY: Tell Congress & the White House that you OPPOSE the Administration’s executive order that suspends refugee resettlement & discriminates against people from certain countries
President Trump has rewritten his executive order to ban travelers from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days; suspend refugee resettlement for 120 days; and drastically reduce the number of refugees the United States welcomes from 110,000 to 50,000, a historic low. Make no mistake – this new order is concocted to have the same impact as the original executive order, while avoiding court proceedings.
By barring individuals from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, this rewritten executive order remains a Muslim ban. Banning refugees from all countries for 120 days will still grind refugee processing to a halt. Refugees are already the most thoroughly vetted individuals in the United States, undergoing biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic document testing, and in-person interviews. Each step of the process is time sensitive, so any pause will cause checks to expire and force refugees who have already been approved to wait months and even years to go through multiple security checks all over again, while their lives hang in the balance.
Disastrous consequences of the initial executive order are still reverberating around the world. These orders are gut-wrenching for our community members who are waiting to be reunited with a family member, and for refugees overseas with no other options for safety than to be resettled. It is critical that all Members of Congress and President Trump hear their constituents decry these announcements and declare their support for refugees from all over the world.
Your Senators and Representatives: (202) 224-3121*
* Please call this line 3 times to be connected with your 1 Representative and 2 Senators
Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [City, State], and I support refugee resettlement. I strongly oppose President Trump’s executive order against refugees – both the original and the rewritten version. The order will bar individuals from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen; grind refugee resettlement from all countries to a halt; and reduce the number of refugees we welcome to 50,000, a historic low. This is morally reprehensible and does not reflect the welcome for refugees I see in my community every day. I urge you to do everything in your power to see this executive order rescinded.”
Please also share a personal story about why refugee resettlement is important to you, your community, etc. Let them know the specific ways that refugees contribute and are welcomed into your community. You can also tweet @ your Senators/Representatives with the same message!
The best ways to make your voice heard by President Trump and the White House is by tweeting @realDonaldTrump and @WhiteHouse; posting a comment on; and submitting an electronic message at
Suggested Tweets:
  • .@realDonaldTrump & @WhiteHouse Don’t stop welcoming refugees. Resettlement demonstrates the best of our values #RefugeesWelcome #GreaterAs1
  • .@realDonaldTrump & @WhiteHouse Keep America welcoming. Refugee resettlement is a proud American legacy with bipartisan support #RefugeesWelcome #GreaterAs1
  • Countering ‘alternative facts’ with real ones. FACT: #Refugees are the most vetted group to enter the US. #RefugeesWelcome #GreaterAs1
  • .@RealDonaldTrump & @WhiteHouse: Today’s EO is the same unconstitutional EO we saw last month & we are still against it. #GreaterAs1 #RefugeesWelcome
For a link to the list alert on the Office of Publice Witness Blog click here .