Article Sep 9, 2016

Southern Baptists taking the lead on welcoming Syrian refugees

The New York Times has an outstanding piece out this week highlighting the role that Southern Baptists have taken in welcoming Syrian refugees to the United States. In the last week, the United States reached a milestone of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees to American soil, and Southern Baptists have led the way in loving and welcoming these new neighbors.

The work of past SBC president Bryant Wright’s church, Johnson Ferry Baptist, was particularly highlighted for its work with refugees. Just this last June, the Southern Baptist convention passed a resolution urging churches and families to “welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes.”

Dr. Wright’s church is doing exactly that. From the article:

William Stocks, a white, Alabama-born, Republican-leaning member of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, arrived at the tiny apartment of a Syrian refugee family on a Wednesday night after work. He was wearing a green-striped golf shirt and a gentle smile, and he was eager to teach yet another improvised session of English 101.

Mr. Stocks, 23, had recently moved to Georgia from Alabama, states where the governors are, like him, Southern Baptists. They are also among the more than 30 Republican governors who have publicly resisted the federal government’s plan to resettle refugees from war-ravaged Syria, fearing that the refugees might bring terrorism to their states.

To Mr. Stocks, such questions belonged in the realm of politics — and he had not come that evening for political reasons. Rather, he said, he had come as a follower of Christ. “My job is to serve these people,” he said, “because they need to be served.”

“These are the most hospitable and loving people you’ll ever meet, which is why it’s frustrating to see the different things on the news that all these people are terrorists,” Mr. Stocks said. “They don’t know these people personally.”

Many have real fears when it comes to Syrian refugees. But as ERLC president Dr. Moore said in the piece, “It’s not unusual that we have politicians timid in the face of fear. But the task of the church is a different one. The church is called to see the image of God in all people and to minister Christ’s presence to all people. That’s what churches are doing.”

Read the rest of the article at The New York Times. But let us thank God for the example set by Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and the powerful witness to the rest of the country that their church has given by their work serving refugees.