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Letter to Governor: Welcome Syrian Refugees


January 5, 2016


The Honorable Mike Pence
Governor of Indiana
Room 206
State House
Indianapolis, IN 46024


Dear Governor Pence,

We the board of Lafayette Urban Ministry (LUM), which represents 42 churches in Greater Lafayette, kindly ask that you welcome Syrian refugees to Indiana and that you grant them the same temporary assistance provided other refugees until they find employment and become acclimated to their new home. While it is understandable that we as a state exercise due diligence by mitigating risks, we believe that it is important to be guided by our faith not our fears. While we understand that you have concerns given the challenges described by FBI Director James Comey in October, we are aware that Attorney General Loretta Lynch has since pointed out in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that “we have a significant and robust screening in place — a process that Europe has not been able to set up, which makes them much more vulnerable.”

We join other faith organizations in Indiana and around the country that have stepped forward to petition their respective elected officials to resume resettling Syrian refugees. We share the same sentiment as the Evangelical Immigration Roundtable, which represents 40 denominations across the country, that wrote in a letter sent to members of Congress

“Jesus himself was a refugee, and he teaches us to do unto others as we would have them do to us.”

We also echo the exhortation made by Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich in his editorial for the Chicago Sun Times, “How can we look the other way, as they huddle with their children in foreign lands with barely any shelter, clothing or food? We must not. These are our neighbors.”

The parable of the Good Samaritan is at the core of LUM’s mission and fleshes out what it means to

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.”

This belief which is at the foundation of our faith demands that we care for vulnerable persons regardless of their nationality and/or religion. The parallels between the parable and the moral obligation to accept Syrian refugees are indisputable and noteworthy. Given that the same thugs that assaulted and robbed the man were still at large, the Samaritan was put himself at risk by stopping and helping him. Never-the-less unlike the priest and the Levite, the Samaritan did not “pass by” the man, but “was moved” and “went to him.” While it might have have been easier to just set the man under a tree with some food and drink, the Samaritan put the man “on his animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” (Luke 10: 33-34)

We recall that there was a wave of immigrants from Southeast Asia in the 70’s and 80’s. Like the current wave of refugees from Syria , the majority of the refugees from Vietnam were political leaders, army officers, and skilled professionals escaping the communist takeover. Similarly there were fears that some of the refugees might be communist sympathizers and had ill intent toward the US. During a speech to Geneva Refugee Conference in 1979, then Vice President Walter Mondale noted “that a similar meeting 41 years before had failed to reach an agreement on the resettlement of European Jews on the eve of World War II…resulting in the death of 6 million Jews in Hitler’s death camps.” (“Educating about Immigration”; Constitutional Rights Foundation website.) We feel that it is also important to note had we failed to resettle the 120,000 refugees from Southeast Asia we would not have been enriched by the contributions of persons like Jane Luu, astronomer and co-discoverer of the Kuiper Belt and trans-Neptunian bodies, and Viet D. Dinh, former Assistant Attorney General of the United States and chief architect of the Patriot Act.

As a Christian organization we believe “that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

It is for this reason and in keeping with the commandment to love one another that we call on the State to welcome Syrian refugees and to release public assistance dollars earmarked to resettle them. Thank you for your consideration.

robert hall joe micon signature (2)

Lafayette Urban Ministry
420 N. 4th Street
Lafayette, Indiana 47901-2213

To view the PDF version of the letter, click HERE.


 

The LUM Campaign for Hoosier Families encourages you to reach out to the Governor and your state legislators. Information on how you may get involved in Legislative Advocacy, HERE.

To see the LUM Bill Watch List, a list of legislation that the LUM Campaign for Hoosier Families is watching, click HERE.

Meet the New LUM Board Officers


LUM is controlled by a Board of Directors — made up of one representative from each member church plus a few appointed individuals from specific community groups. The LUM board meets once a month, overseeing and directing policy decisions, fiscal matters, and programming issues, ensuring that LUM continues to fulfill its vital mission to the community. It is led by an eight member executive council.


2016 Executive Board


Best wishes and congratulations to the 2016 LUM Board of Directors. A special thank you to the 2016 Executive Council members (pictured L to R above), who are as follows:

  • Robert Hall, President, Saint Lawrence Catholic Church
  • Jeremiah Dole, Vice President, At Large
  • Mark Thomas, Secretary, Chapel of the Good Shepherd
  • Susie Riley, Treasurer, Trinity United Methodist Church
  • Cliff Mitchell, Facilities, Elston Presbyterian Church
  • Deb Parent, Personnel, At Large
  • Patty Useem, Program, Planning & Evaluation, Federated Church
  • Joe Micon, Executive Director, Lafayette Urban Ministry

The Lafayette Urban Ministry leadership is passionate, hard working and talented — it’s going to be a great 2016!


Meet the New LUM Board Officers


2014-09-17 Dream Team at Board Meeting 024 (2)LUM is controlled by a Board of Directors — one representative from each member church plus a few appointed individuals from specific community groups. The Board meets once a month, overseeing and directing policy decisions, fiscal matters, and programming issues, ensuring that LUM continues to fulfill its vital mission to the community. The board is led by an eight member executive council.


Best wishes and congratulations to the 2015 LUM Board of Directors. A 2015-BoD-Officersspecial thank you to the 2015 Executive Council members:

  • Robert Hall, President, Saint Lawrence Catholic Church
  • Jeremiah Dole, Vice President, University Church
  • Patty Useem, Secretary, Federated Church
  • Marilyn Zerbes, Treasurer, At Large
  • Cliff Mitchell, Facilities, Elston Presbyterian Church
  • Rev. Clarinda Crawford, Personnel, Congress Street United Methodist Church
  • Robert Blue, Program, Planning & Evaluation, Immanuel United Church of Christ
  • Joe Micon, Executive Director, Lafayette Urban Ministry

The Lafayette Urban Ministry leadership is passionate, hard working and talented — it’s going to be a great 2015!


 


Board of Directors


Chuck Anderson
Rev. Mark Berg
Rev. Gregory Bonds
Rev. Mark & Ashley Bonnes
Rev. Kevin Bowers
Rev. David Comstock
Nita Cunningham
Paul Dixon
Linda Dolby
Rev. Ryan Donoho
Fr. Ted Dudzynski
Cheryl Fowler
Rev. Lore Gibson
Allen Grady
Maryann Haan
Gary Henriott
Rev. David Horner
Rev. Troy Hostettler
Nancy Hughes
Tom Kanaby
Rev. Gilbert Kerrigan
GuyAnne Lillpop
Joan Low
Rev. Scott Mann
Melissa Martin
Rev. Steve Mason
Deb Parent
Nolie Parnell
Cathy Potter
Susie Riley
Rev. Justin Schlesinger-Devlin
Carl Schwamberger
Rev. Bill Smutz
Jane Stewart
Diane Stott
Mark Thomas
Rev. Ezell Wiggins
Charlene Williams
Rev. Howard Wright
Rev. Dominic Young

 

Meet the LUM Executive Council – Robert Hall


Liaison for Facilities: Robert Hall



2013-02-20 LUM board meeting 030 (2)Robert , a 
Realtor in the area, represents St. Lawrence Church on the LUM Board.

He and his wife, Stacey, have two young children. Robert enjoys playing golf, reading, traveling, spending time with his wife, and playing with his kids. Outside of his service to LUM, Robert has volunteered with Faith Based Initiative, served as a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has helped on local builds with Habitat for Humanity.

Robert is encouraged by the work of LUM and hopes to give back to the community that has been so important to him.



Join LUM online and help us serve children and families even better.


   

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