Migrants and Refugees
As Advent approaches, you may plan to do a bit of shopping at your local fair trade store (mortar and bricks or online). Partners for Just Trade (PJT), which was begun by the Presbyterian Hunger Program, continues its 10-year ministry of offering amazing handcrafted goods that truly make a better, more just world for so many artisans who would otherwise live in extreme poverty. PJT sells a nativity figurine that varies a bit from standard nativity sets that feature the Holy Family, a manger, an angel or two, stable creatures, and a trio of magi. PJT’s nativity figurine, entitled Nativity Flight to Egypt, depicts Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus, tightly clinging to one another, fleeing to safety on the back of a llama (as envisioned by the Peruvian artist who makes it).*
This dear nativity figurine may ultimately find its way to a holly-covered mantel or illuminated evergreen in a cosy North American home, but it depicts a very difficult human experience: fleeing one’s home for safe refuge. “Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod” (Matt. 2:13–15).
“Then Joseph got up. . .” (Matt. 2:14)
Heeding the angel’s warning, this young family “got up” and “got out.” Can you imagine just how difficult it would have been to flee, particularly with a newborn child? What event or foreboding would move you to get up and flee? What must it be like to have to quickly consider what to carry with you (if you have time to consider, that is)?
As God’s people, we have lots of prayers to offer and ministry to make happen for our sisters and brothers—many of whom are very young—who are seeking a better life, or, perhaps, just life. May these pages offer insight and clarity as we “get up” to walk alongside the migrants and immigrants among us (as well as advocate for the too many who are a world away in refugee camps or dire situations). “Let mutual love continue,” indeed.
*The figurine (Nativity Flight to Egypt, item MA663) is available in limited quantity at www.partnersforjusttrade.org.
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Syrian Refugees: Wrestling with the Angels
More than a quarter of the world’s refugees are Syrian. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance director Laurie Kraus tells their story and of the PC(USA)’s solid commitment to extend welcome through support, encouragement, rebuilding efforts, and more.
Welcoming Refugees and Asylum-seekers
Susan Krehbiel, refugee and asylum catalyst for the PC(USA), provides guidance for church volunteers and volunteer teams who extend welcome and walk alongside refugee and asylum-seeking peoples.Moving Toward Sanctuary
Moving Toward Sanctuary Everywhere
For 461 days, Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church provided sanctuary for Rosa Robles Loreto. Alison Harrington shares the story of this church and the larger community who stood with Rosa, and tells of their deepening commitment to providing an expanded view of sanctuary for asylum seekers outside church walls.
Flor, Mary Jane and Jennifer: Life (and Death) for Overseas Filipino Workers
Many Filipinos, most of whom are women, must take jobs overseas to provide for their families back home. Although many countries rely on foreign labor, the nonresident workers are at risk for exploitation and incarceration or worse. Cathy Chang tells the story of three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), all women, unfairly sentenced to death by foreign governments, and the grassroots advocacy efforts that came about to protect OFWs and other migrant workers.
A Very Dangerous Journey: Fleeing Extreme Violence in Central America
Amanda Craft and Mark Lusk shine a light on the record- and heart-breaking wave of women and children asylum seekers from Central America who flee in hope and faith “to escape violence, extortion, abduction, assault, torture, forced gang recruitment and human trafficking.”
Migration: Common Story, Common Cause
People migrate for many reasons. Teresa Waggener explores the biblical story of Naomi and Ruth and how their migration story has been and continues to be a “common story” for millions of people. As people of faith, we are called to “wish God’s blessings” to our neighbor in humanity, through prayer, advocacy, presence and more.
God’s People on the Move
God’s people leave their homes for many reasons, and none of them are easy. Yvonne Hileman offers a look at some of the terms and numbers related to migration, and highlights some of the displaced groups worldwide.
Fearing for Their Lives – Why They Come
Celebrate the Gifts of Women
Women Called to Lead with Love
Judy Record Fletcher
Bible Study Resource
Patricia K. Tull offers reflections and questions for us in studying Lessons Five and Six of the 2017–2018 PW/Horizons Bible study, Cloud of Witnesses: The Community of Christ in Hebrews by Melissa Bane Sevier
Nominees to the 2018–2021 Churchwide Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Women
Fellowship of the Least Coin
Outgoing FLC executive director Corazon Tabing-Reyes thanks Presbyterian Women for its commitment to FLC and announces the 2017 grant recipients.
“For you [once] were aliens . . .”
Cecilia Amorocho Hickerson
Unpacking the Theme: Scripture Study
Kgod Welcomes Sojourners Home
Wrestling with God’s Expansive Love
Amy Starr Redwine
Stories from the Ages
Wednesday Is for Welcome
Hillary Moses Mohaupt
What One PW Is Doing
Team Works with Women of the World
Linda Raymond Ellison
PW in Los Ranchos Presbytery: “Education is at the heart of understanding”
Response to Restrictions: Welcome!
Ann V. Devilbiss
News and Information About Presbyterian Women and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Pages Worth Turning