Refugee Support

UPC is currently supporting a local family from Afghanistan.

In September 2021, we all watched as thousands of people were evacuated from Afghanistan. As people of faith we wondered what we could do to help as families came to the US in search of asylum. A number of UPC saints attended a training in October, and from there we identified the members of a Core Team to accompany a family as they make a new life here in our community. Currently, we are pleased to support a family of six: two parents and their four children, ages six, four, three, and five months.

How can I help?

The first thing you can do is pray. Pray for the father as he enters the work force here. Pray for the mother as she learns a new language. Pray for the children as they enter school. 

The second thing you can do is give. The Core Team has helped the family secure housing and furnishings and is investigating transportation help. As they are still seeking employment, one of the greatest needs is help with basic monthly expenses. We are currently collecting financial donations for our Refugee Support Fund, which we will use to help support the family for the next few months with basic expenses such as groceries, diapers, and formula. At this time, we are NOT accepting physical donations. To give, click the donate button to access our online giving page, or write a check to UPC with “Refugee Support” in the memo line. Excess funds will remain in the account to help future refugee families.

Will we get to meet the family?

We want to respect the privacy of the family, so the Core Team will likely do much of the interpersonal communication with the family. However, none of this would be possible without the support of every single person who gives to UPC. Your generosity, organized with love and a vision for providing hospitality to the refugees in our midst, is what enables this calling. On behalf of the Core Team, we say thank you. 

About the We Choose Welcome Emphasis

We Choose Welcome is an awareness campaign of the Presbyterian Church (USA) that expresses both a personal and corporate commitment to welcome refugees and immigrants into our communities. In 2017, the UPC Session affirmed this initiative and began conversations about ways we can reach out with hospitality to the refugees in our community.

"We Choose Welcome" Resolution passed by the Session

Whereas, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor denominations have consistently called the church to welcome refugees in the name of Jesus. [This call began when the 160th General Assembly (1948) of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America called for the resettlement of persons made refugees and displaced by World War II and continued through the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) statement calling the church to “respond to the ancient biblical directive to provide for the stranger and the sojourner.”[i]]; and

Whereas we are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.

(An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. [ii]); and

Whereas some voices are calling us to abandon the very foundations of our biblical faith to welcome the stranger and to give safe haven to the refugee, and to set aside the values of compassion and hospitality that have marked our historic identity as a nation;

Be it resolved, the Session of University Presbyterian Church, meeting on this 16th day of February 2017, decries any policy that discriminates against refugees by nationality, race, ethnicity or religion,

And further, endorses the January 28, 2017 statement by the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which states “We stand ready to welcome our new neighbors, friends, and family of all faiths and nations,”[iii]

And further, accepts the December 1, 2015, challenge issued by the Rev. Gradye Parsons, former Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), asking congregations to take a photograph with a “We Choose Welcome” banner and send the photo to their public officials,[iv]

And further, encourages the congregation to implore those elected officials to embrace the values of compassion and hospitality essential to our identity as a nation.

[i] http://info.pcusa.org/t/ViewEmail/i/9306C40E14FECD27/18407EA0069C0D2B62AF25ACF5E3F0AC

[ii] http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html

[iii] https://www.pcusa.org/news/2017/1/28/stated-clerk-opposes-order-banning-refugees-entry-/

[iv] https://www.pcusa.org/blogs/stated-clerks-column/2015/12/1/choose-welcome/