Expressing God's Love, Engaging in God's Justice

Syria-Lebanon Partnership Network Plans Response to Refugee Needs

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Many of you are asking how your local church can respond to the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis.  You are also wondering when the U.S.A. will step up to the plate and decide to allow a significant number of refugees to come to the U.S.  How can we help?

One way is by signing the petition on the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance website of the PC(USA). The link is here:  Please forward to this those in your congregation and urge them to sign on.

Another way is occurring next week, September 16 and 17, as the “New Arrivals Work Group” (NAWG) meets to set down a process for churches to follow as we coordinate efforts with immigration, PDA, and immgration and refugee agencies to welcome those who need and want to come.  Members of NAWG come from the Iraq Partnership Network, the Syria-Lebanon Partnership Network, and the Middle East Caucus.  We plan to meet jointly on Wednesdayafternoon and Thursday morning.  Proposed plans will come before the SLPN as it meets Sept. 17-19.  We hope to announce the recommended process soon afterwards.

The needs are great!  We hear your concern and your willingness to help, and we thank God for your questions.  The Spirit is working in and through us.

“No One Leaves Home” by Warsan Shire

September 2, 2015 by Alam 

No one leaves home unless

home is the mouth of a shark

you only run for the border

when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you

breath bloody in their throats

the boy you went to school with

who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory

is holding a gun bigger than his body

you only leave home

when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you

fire under feet

hot blood in your belly

it’s not something you ever thought of doing

until the blade burnt threats into

your neck

and even then you carried the anthem under

your breath

only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets

sobbing as each mouthful of paper

made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,

that no one puts their children in a boat

unless the water is safer than the land

no one burns their palms

under trains

beneath carriages

no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck

feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled

means something more than journey.

no one crawls under fences

no one wants to be beaten


no one chooses refugee camps

or strip searches where your

body is left aching

or prison,

because prison is safer

than a city of fire

and one prison guard

in the night

is better than a truckload

of men who look like your father

no one could take it

no one could stomach it

no one skin would be tough enough


go home blacks


dirty immigrants

asylum seekers

sucking our country dry

niggers with their hands out

they smell strange


messed up their country and now they want

to mess ours up

how do the words

the dirty looks

roll off your backs

maybe because the blow is softer

than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender

than fourteen men between

your legs

or the insults are easier

to swallow

than rubble

than bone

than your child body

in pieces.

i want to go home,

but home is the mouth of a shark

home is the barrel of the gun

and no one would leave home

unless home chased you to the shore

unless home told you

to quicken your legs

leave your clothes behind

crawl through the desert

wade through the oceans



be hunger


forget pride

your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear



run away from me now

i dont know what i’ve become

but i know that anywhere

is safer than here


Thanks to those who sent me this heartwrenching poem about the refugee experience.  May we be steadfast in our response.


Pauline Coffman, Moderator
Syria-Lebanon Partnership Network

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