Refugees face down some of the most dire and difficult circumstances imaginable, fleeing their countries to escape persecution, oppression, and war. Episcopal Migration Ministries welcomes refugees to peaceful homes and hopeful futures in the United States, partnering with faith groups, volunteers, community organizations, and many other local supporters to build a foundation for success for these new Americans. In its 2011 program year, Episcopal Migration Ministries and its network of local affiliate partners assisted more than 3,600 refugees from 34 countries. From the moment they arrive in their new communities, refugee clients receive care, hospitality, and assistance from professional affiliate staff and from the hundreds of generous church volunteers who welcome the stranger through this ministry each year.
A Season for Reflection
As we journey through the holy season of Epiphany, we at Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) are given pause to reflect on our call to the ministry of refugee resettlement. The image of the Holy Family in EMM’s logo takes on new resonance at this time of year, as we remember that we seek and serve Jesus in the refugee families who come to our shores. They are new holy families finding their way in a new land.
It is also a time when we give thanks for the many Episcopalians who join with us in this life-giving ministry. A poem by Robert Fitzgerald provides an opportunity for reflection on this partnership and the experience of refugees.
Immortal brilliance of presage
In any dark day’s iron age
May come to lift the hair and bless
Even our tired earthliness,
And sundown bring an age of gold,
Forged in fabric, far and old,
An elsewhere and an elfin light,
And kings rise castward in the night.
With God’s help, you who join with us in this work are as Christ to the world, offering hope, healing, and peace to newly arriving refugees. As God’s partners in this work, you “bless even our tired earthliness,” giving a glimpse of the beauty of God’s kingdom.
For refugees, the “dark day’s iron age” has ended, an “elsewhere and an elfin light” has just begun. And as we come together to build communities of welcome, forming bonds of friendship with these new neighbors, we are all blessed to experience this “elsewhere” – the elsewhere of God’s grace, the beauty of God’s kingdom, even in our own day.
From all of us at EMM, we wish you a blessed season of Epiphany. And we offer our warm gratitude to you – for your friendship, your partnership, and your welcome.
We wish peace to you and yours during this holy season,
Episcopal Migration Ministries