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Letter To Editor: Larchmont Rector Defends Church's Helping Refugees

Father Joe Greene
Father Joe Greene Photo Credit: Provided
Efforts to collect furniture for refugees at a Larchmont church have generated complaints as well as praise.
Efforts to collect furniture for refugees at a Larchmont church have generated complaints as well as praise. Photo Credit: Provided

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Mamaroneck Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to mamaroneck@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

In response to Stephanie Lombardo’s letter “St. John’s Church should not collect furniture for refugees,” I want to commend the people of St. John’s, the other houses of worship that are a part of the Westchester Refugee Task Force, and the Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services of New Haven for the good work that they are doing in response to a global humanitarian crisis.

As a Christian community of faith, St. John’s is constantly looking for opportunities and challenges that are presented to us to take from the rich bounty of resources that God has given to us collectively and use them for good in the world. We take seriously the gospel command of Jesus that when we welcome the stranger or clothe the naked, we are doing so for God (Matthew 25:40).

Those men, women, and children who are being relocated and resettled here in the United States are coming from situations where their lives have been torn apart by war, poverty, and famine. They are thoroughly vetted in a process run by the State Department that takes over a year to be completed before they are even considered for admission into our country.

They are not terrorists – they are doctors or teachers or shopkeepers or housewives or young children who have had their safety and livelihood ripped out from under them through violence and bloodshed. They may not speak our language or share our religion, but they do share in the common human need for safety and sustenance.

We are just trying to do our part. St. John’s is committed to outreach in areas near and far. Whether it is providing financial support for a school in South Sudan, working with food pantries and soup kitchens in New Rochelle or Mamaroneck, or working with other faith communities to assist refugees from the Middle East, we see it as an extension of our baptismal call to do the work set before us by Jesus as his disciples in loving our neighbor, no matter who they are.

I invite Ms. Lombardo or anyone who has questions or concerns about the work that we do to join us in prayer, worship, and fellowship at the church on Sunday mornings (or any time). We choose to live life based on faith in a loving God who tells us to “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6). And we seek to serve Christ in each other.

Peace and blessings,

Father Joe Greene

Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church

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