Midwest Methodist bishop says churches willing to sponsor Syrian refugees

Bishop Scott Jones, Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church (Photo courtesy GPCUMC)

LINCOLN, Neb. – United Methodist Churches in  Kansas and Nebraska announced Friday several congregations plan to assist Syrian refugees who are looking to resettle in the U.S.

In a news release, Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church said 35 United Methodist congregations have agreed to sponsor at least one Syrian refugee family when they become eligible to immigrate to the U.S.

The Great Plains conference represents 1,032 Methodist congregations in Kansas and Nebraska.

Jones called on elected leaders who affiliate with the Christian faith to re-think their opposition to helping Syrian refugees relocate to the United States.

“This is a cultural war, and the French are our allies,” Jones said. “But the vast majority of Muslims in the world area also are our allies, and we need to stand by them against the jihadist movement called dayesh and Al-Qaeda. In that war, one of the strongest things we can do is to show that America is a country which welcomes refugees who flee the evil and terror of jihadists in their countries and where freedom of religion is respected.”

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on November 16th signed an executive order saying no state agency or organization receiving state money can help relocate Syrian refugees in Kansas.  In addition, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts sent a letter to resettlement agencies in Nebraska urging them to decline to participate in any efforts to bring Syrian refugees to his state.

It could be up to two years before any refugees from Syria are allowed into the U.S. under the current vetting program.  That process could take even longer after the House of Representatives voted Thursday to require the Homeland Security secretary, the FBI director and the head of National Intelligence to personally certify that each applicant is not a threat.

Critics say that would bring the process nearly to a standstill and not let any refugees into the country.

KSN talked with Representative Mike Pompeo who voted for the change in the law.  He says it’s important to make sure we know who is being allowed into America.

“We should make sure today that the threats around the world aren’t brought to our shores, and so that requires hard work a little bit of an ability to pause and reflect and get it right,” said Pompeo.

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