The Church of the Nazarene’s board of General Superintendents issued a statement on Sunday in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to suspend new-refugee admissions. The statement urged all governments, including the United States, to put in place systems where refugees could find safety.
“We urge the President of the United States, Congress, and other state departments to make this temporary order a matter of urgency so that the United States may continue to be known as a nation of compassion and hospitality to those who are oppressed, vulnerable, and marginalized.”
Trevecca officials echoed a similar sense of urgency after the election in November 2015 when they urged students and faculty to welcome diversity and show love to the undocumented and marginalized. University chaplain, Shawna Gaines said their mission hasn’t changed.
“This does not need to be a political issue for us… It’s about a love we have for displaced people that goes all the way back to Jesus,” she said. “We can essentially continue being the people God called us to be — with respect to our government leaders and neighbors — but we don't stop pouring out love for refugees.”
Several Trevecca students are already involved with the refugee crisis through the Urban Farm, Center for Social Justice, or refugee outreach programs such as the one at Nashville First Church of the Nazarene.
Gaines said that changes in Serbia’s refugee laws resulted in the cancellation of a TAG trip there. The students are now being sent to Croatia instead to work with refugees along with several other groups of people.
“We have to be able to change along with and respond to the changes that are ever present with ministering to refugees,” said Gaines.
As far as what can be done right now, Gaines said the best thing to do is listen.
“A lot of people feel a sense of wanting people to desperately know that they’re grateful their here but they don’t know how to do that,” she said. “This might be a great time for us to be intentional about reaching out to people who come from different cultural contexts and start asking better questions and listening better. We want to build the kind of relationships where people feel secure.”
Advice from the Board of General Superintendents:
▪ Treat immigrants with love, respect, and mercy.
▪ Participate sacrificially in local, national, and global compassionate ministry responses to assist refugees and immigrants.
▪ Encourage their respective governments to approve equitable laws that will allow for family reunification, legal work permits for productive immigrants in the workforce, and pathways for undocumented immigrants to be able to obtain authorized immigrant status.
▪ Follow the clear biblical mandate to love, welcome, assist, evangelize, and disciple the immigrants near us.