*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Wyoming churches take in Afghan refugees after state governor refuses

22 October 2021

Reuters

Afghan refugee girls watch a football match near the village where they are staying, at FortMcCoy U.S. Army base, Wisconsin, last month

Afghan refugee girls watch a football match near the village where they are staying, at FortMcCoy U.S. Army base, Wisconsin, last month

CHURCHES in Wyoming hope to sponsor Afghan refugees to come and live among them. The churches are stepping in because their state is the only one in the United States not to have a refugee-resettlement programme.

The Episcopalian Bishop of Wyoming, the Rt Revd Paul-Gordon Chandler, said that he was greatly encouraged by the desire among churches to “welcome the stranger”.

In a letter to parishes last week, he said: “Some of the churches in our diocese are in the midst of exploring the possibility of hosting an Afghan refugee family, or of helping in one way or another to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees in our country. For example, the vestry at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Casper voted unanimously last month to begin researching the process for sponsoring an Afghan family.

“As Wyoming doesn’t have a federally funded refugee resettlement program, it entails some creative thinking, and working closely with Episcopal Migration Ministries, whose mission is this sacred work.”

He said that although this office was not “lobbying” the Governor’s office on the issue, it was having “encouraging conversations”.

Half of the calls to the Governor’s office on the issue were supportive of resettling Afghan refugees in the state, he said. “So there is a lot of good will.”

Wyoming is the only state never to have had a formal refugee-resettlement programme. Wyoming, with 580,000 residents, is the least populous state in the country. It is nearly 84 per cent white, compared with 60 per cent of the US population, according to the US census. Of US residents as a whole, 14 per cent were born in another country. For Wyoming, the percentage is 3.4 per cent.

The Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported that, while several neighbouring western states had offered to receive Afghan families, a spokesman for the Governor of Wyoming, Mark Gordon, had said in August that he had “no interest” in doing the same. But his office told the The Washington Post that the Governor was open to developing a process for faith groups to host evacuees.

The Rector of St Mark’s, in Casper, Wyoming, the Revd Dr Jim Shumard, told ENS: “Most Afghan families want to go where there’s an Afghan community. There’s no community here. We pray other local churches will sponsor other families so that we can build community together.”

President Biden intends to increase to 125,000 the number of refugees who can enter the US in the fiscal year beginning 1 October.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

 

Church Times/RSCM: 

Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE

 

Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available

 

Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available

 

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Church Times/Canterbury Press:

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

Early bird tickets available

 

 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)