Church leaders rebut Gov. Baker's position against Syrian refugees

In a Nov. 18 letter, Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts joined with other Massachusetts church leaders to ask Governor Charlie Baker to reconsider his position against the local resettlement of Syrian refugees.

The letter, issued by the Massachusetts Council of Churches, is a response to Baker's comments to reporters at the State House earlier this week.  Citing safety concerns aroused by last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, he said, "No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria," according to the Boston Globe.

"We believe in a Commonwealth where all people can live safely, especially those fleeing war and persecution.  We pledge our voices and our churches' active support to resettle Syrian refugees in Massachusetts," the church leaders say in their letter.  "We must make sure that we do not allow fear to overwhelm us, crowd out our compassion or fundamentally change our character.  We refuse to live as a Commonwealth scared of those unlike us."

The full text of the letter is available here.

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"Refugee Ministry 101: Getting Started" is an information-sharing gathering for members of the diocesan community interested in learning more about how to respond to the global refugee crisis.  It will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.  RSVP to

Find the bishops' Sept. 16 statement calling for prayer and response here.