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Dec 01, 2015

"Choose Compassion, Not Fear" Clergy tell Governor Abbott


Religious leaders in the Bryan-College Station area wrote a letter calling for support of refugees in Texas. They sent the letter to Governor Greg Abbott challenging his stance against resettling Syrian refugee families in Texas. The text of the letter follows:


"As Christian leaders and pastors, we write today calling upon Christians to claim the Gospel imperative to care for the stranger, the foreigner, and the immigrant. In Matthew’s Gospel, we are reminded that the Holy Family fled from the violence in their homeland to a neighboring country. Moreover, we are explicitly told that as we welcome the stranger, we welcome Jesus.


At this time of year, especially when we welcome a foreigner coming among us in the incarnation, we celebrate and recognize with gratitude the generosity of God. We are disappointed and saddened by the actions of our governor and the governors of many other states, who have instructed the withholding of assistance to Syrian Refugees seeking placement in the United States. On the Statue of Liberty stands a proclamation that we welcome those “yearning to breathe free.” We hope that in the spirit of this generosity, the State of Texas would feel compelled to do the same.


Moreover, in sending letters dissuading faith-based organizations from acting on behalf of Syrian refugees, we believe the Governor has asked the church to ignore its covenantal responsibility and faithful response. We are convinced that it is nothing less than our Christian responsibility to welcome these Syrian families and individuals who flee violence in their home country.


We understand that an obligation of the government is to provide protection, yet we must also consider those innocent lives left exposed to the violence in their own countries. We are confident that the one-and-a-half to two-year vetting process would certainly allow us to place some Syrian refugees in our State. So, we instead call upon the political leaders and citizens to choose compassion over fear. We ask that the governor reconsider his decision and, at the same time, recognize the duty of these faith-based organizations to provide compassionate care. We hold up the great state of Texas as a place that gives refuge and comfort for the world through generous hospitality by our presence and care."


The Rev. J. Dean Lawrence

Rector, St. Francis Episcopal Church, College Station


Reverend Sue Beall,

Retired Lutheran Pastor


The Rev. Katherine Hester Doehring

Campus Pastor, United Campus Ministry in Aggieland, College Station


The Rev Mindy Roll

Lutheran Campus Ministry, Texas A& M and Blinn


The Rev. James T. Said

Associate Rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, College Station


Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon

Friends Congregational Church, UCC


The Rev. Mary Lenn Dixon

Area Deacon for the Episcopal Churches of Bryan-College Station


The Rev. C. Matthew Wise

Campus Missioner at Texas A&M, Episcopal Diocese of Texas


Rev. Jonathan Murray

Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, College Station


Nandra Perry

Pastoral Leader, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Hearne


The Rev. Daryl T. Hay 

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Bryan