AFRECS: American Friends of the Episcopal Church of

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3737 Seminary Road Alexandria, VA 22304

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In this section, you will find information related to advocacy for Sudanese in the United States and abroad.

Lenten Message

March 1, 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


Lent reminds us to be intentional in our prayers for all those who have special needs for God's embrace.  It is also a time when we are called to search our own behavior to see how we as Christians can help extend that embrace.  For those of us in AFRECS, we receive daily reminders of the suffering of our sisters and brothers in Sudan and South Sudan, often accompanied by pleas for prayers and support.  The enormity of the challenge should not deter us from responding.


Permit me to offer some suggestions for actions that we might hope for as we ratchet up our prayer life this holy season.


1. Let us pray that our friends in both Sudans do not lose hope even as their suffering seems to be relentless.  Some of us were reminded at a conversation with a South Sudanese leader  that hope is our best weapon. 


2. Let us pray that a peace process will be reignited as there is seemingly little happening at present that speaks to leaders coming together to change the narrative from one of revenge  to one of peace and reconciliation. 


3. Let us pray that leaders of the various faith communities that inhabit both South Sudan and Sudan will come together as robust advocates for peace and reconciliation and urge their members to practice truth telling and forgiveness as key steps toward peace and reconciliation.


4. Let us pray that we as friends and partners will not lose hope even as we face challenges that can seem overwhelming.


5. Let us pray that we will find ways to be purveyors of hope, reminding ourselves that modest actions committed with great love and in Christ's name can make a difference.


6. Let us pray that friends and partners will respond generously to the pleas for help to reverse the prospect of starvation for thousands of South Sudanese.


7. Let us pray for those in Sudan and South Sudan who courageously speak out against the intransigence of leaders who will not divest themselves of a quest for power in the face of the unremitting violence that faces their people.


8. Let us pray that the victims of the protracted conflicts in both Sudan and South Sudan will find relief from their suffering and know that they are cared for by a loving God and those who work tirelessly to bring them relief and comfort. 


May we journey in thought and prayer with our friends in South Sudan and Sudan during this Lenten season.




Take a Stand

February 2, 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


Our lives as members of AFRECS and supporters of uprooted persons in Sudan and South Sudan have a keen understanding of the indispensable role that refugee resettlement plays in saving lives and allowing desperate  people a chance to live when the alternative is unmitigated suffering and for thousands certain death.  We would not be doing the work which we are doing if it were not for our ability to welcome refugees into our lives and to stand with them in their effort to survive and rebuild their lives. 


For this reason, we can understand the outrage felt by many Americans at the President's action which denies resettlement to many refugees whose only hope of living in safety is finding safe haven in our country.  I am pleased that our church has spoken out strongly against this action and has called us to support those who are committed to welcoming the stranger into our midst.


I joined an interfaith group this morning who greeted those attending the national prayer breakfast in proclaiming our posture as a people who welcome all persons regardless of creed who seek the freedom and safety that they find in communities across the breadth of our land.  A sign that struck me as conveying the key message was one that read "love your neighbor without exception".


We have forwarded to you the excellent letter sent to the Deputies of our Church by the President of the House of Deputies which sets forth  why the directive to exclude refugees from admission needs to be challenged.  In short, logic and our faith tradition as followers of Jesus Christ requires that we not abandon the hospitality that we are called to express.


For fourteen years, I directed the refugee resettlement program of The Episcopal Church and prior to that worked in both government and other faith based agencies in bringing refugees to the United States.  Without reservation I can share with you that view that these were some of the most courageous and resilient people I have ever met.  We are a better people because we gave them a home.  To change that narrative is to deny ourselves and our nation a gift even as we deny refugees the gift of a second change. 


I trust that you will join those within our church and in faith groups  throughout our country in insisting that our doors remain open and our communities remain welcoming.