October 1, 2017
Like millions of people around the world, Presbyterian elder Bill Campbell was moved by the heartbreaking image of a drowned Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015. Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi was among thousands of Syrians who drowned while trying to escape the violence gripping their country.
“There must be a way I can do something,” Campbell told himself. As chair of the mission committee at Old First Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, Campbell got his congregation involved by working with a local refugee resettlement agency to collect and assemble “welcome kits” that newly arrived refugee families find in their new homes when they first open the door. The kits include household goods such as flatware, dishes, cooking utensils, lamps, cleaning supplies, toiletries and linens. It took two cars to haul one kit, and the congregation assembled and delivered seven of them.
But Campbell hoped the wider church could multiply the efforts of congregations like his. He and like-minded members of other churches asked San Francisco Presbytery to match congregations’ contributions to support resettlement of refugees in the San Francisco Bay Area. The presbytery agreed to match up to $10,000 from its peacemaking fund. The matching funds were available thanks to gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering, which most congregations are receiving today. The offering benefits the peace and reconciliation ministries of congregations, mid councils and the national church.
In just four months, the goal was surpassed. More than $20,000 was given to help impoverished, war-battered families in the Bay Area find safety, welcome and a new life. Across our country, compassionate Presbyterians have refused to stand by idly while the world faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II.
Today Presbyterians are joining with other Christians around the globe in observance of World Communion Sunday. We gather to celebrate the common bond we have in Christ, the one who invites us to this sacred meal. In gratitude for the welcome Christ gives us, may we welcome the strangers in our midst.
Pat Cole, Communications Specialist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: World Communion Sunday/Peace & Global Witness Offering
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Compassionate God, we pray for people who seek a safe place to call home. Help us to extend your hospitality to those who have fled danger and who are striving to begin a new life among us. Grant us the strength and wisdom to choose welcome. Amen.