On Monday, June 12, General Synod urged RCA congregations to take action regarding the global refugee crisis.
“The Reformed Church in America finds its heritage in the immigrant church. Many of the ancestors of this church were refugees,” said Patricia Sealy, moderator of the Commission on Christian Action, which brought the recommendations. “From Scripture we are clearly admonished about how we are to treat the stranger.”
Synod approved two recommendations regarding the refugee crisis.
R 17-19 urges congregations to:
- Read the general secretary’s statement on the refugee crisis.
- Use the refugee response resources on the RCA website.
- Pray regularly for the needs of refugees.
- Reach out to RCA missionaries and congregations that actively work with refugees and issues of immigration in order to learn about and support their work.RCA missionaries include JJ and Tim TenClay in Italy, Paolo Naso in Italy, Dick and Carolyn Otterness in Hungary, and Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather in South Sudan.
- Financially support advocacy and relief for refugees through organizations such as Church World Service or Bethany Christian Services.
- Befriend or help resettle refugees in or near their communities.
- Observe World Refugee Day this year on Tuesday, June 20.
With R 17-20, delegates also called for continued resourcing for churches regarding the refugee crisis, as well as working with ecumenical partners to resettle refugees and advocate for immigrants. It also called for quarterly reporting of funds raised and used for RCA refugee work.
Synod president Dan Gillett invited delegates to contribute to the General Synod offering, which benefits Casa delle Culture in Italy.