Statement by Christian Faith Leaders in Colorado on the Reception of Syrian Refugees





December 10, 2015

Statement by Christian Faith Leaders in Colorado on the Reception of Syrian Refugees


Rev. Jim Gonia, Bishop, Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,

Kent Mueller, Assistant to Bishop Gonia,


Together with many people in our state, we have watched with deep concern the events surrounding the flood of refugees from war-torn Syria. The images of thousands of families fleeing the horror and terror loosed in their homeland, risking and sometimes losing their lives, fills us with deep pain. This pain and concern has now been amplified by the heartache of those who have experienced horrific attacks of terror in places like Beirut, Paris and Mali.  We experience the world in these days to be a violent and fearful place.


Given these realities, it would be easy to give way to fear and allow compassion to fail.  As faith leaders, however, we are called to proclaim the power of divine light to overcome all darkness, the power of holy love to overcome all fear and hatred.  In that spirit, we wish to commend Governor John Hickenlooper for his commitment to receive among us all refugees seeking hope and a new life, including those from Syria.  We commit ourselves and our communities of faith to actively partner with our local refugee resettlement agencies in welcoming these new neighbors and helping in their orientation to life in our country.


While we hear the voice and concerns of those who would seek to restrict entry for all refugees from Syria into our country, we do not believe this represents the spiritual or moral values of our nation.  On the contrary, our own history bears witness to the power of welcoming the stranger from every land.  Fear should not obscure our proud heritage as a nation where the most vulnerable in our world have found an opportunity for new life.  Nor should we allow our spirit of generosity and hospitality to be compromised by any prejudice that would prevent us from accepting people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds.  While mindful of the security concerns of our country, the fact is that all refugees admitted to this country undergo thorough and rigorous vetting by our governmental agencies.


At the end of the day, our faith teaches us that helping our neighbor in need is one of the highest signs of holy love that can be offered.  We commit ourselves anew to that calling and invite all people of good will to join us in welcoming our Syrian neighbors in need to our country and to our state.


Bishop James W. Gonia, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rocky Mountain Synod

The Right Reverend Robert O’Neill, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Colorado

Bishop Elaine J. W. Stanovsky, The United Methodist Church, The Mountain Sky Episcopal Area

Rev. Thomas Sheffield, Presbytery Pastor, Denver Presbytery

Rev. Sue Artt, Acting Conference Minister, Rocky Mountain Conference, United Church of Christ

Rev. Hollis Booker, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Dean Phelps, Interim Executive Regional Minster, Central Rocky Mountain Region, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Vickie Samland, Western Plains Church of the Brethren representative

Adrian Miller, Executive Director, Colorado Council of Churches