Cassie Steele – OCP News Service – 2/2/18
President Trump’s move against refugees was not positively received by the American Orthodox Church, as stated by Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times. The president of the United States of America, Donald Trump signed an executive order to deport undocumented immigrants as well as turn away refugees. The Orthodox church, together with protestant churches were very aggressive in campaigning against this order. Among the values held dear by the Orthodox Church is the need to faithfully help the needy. This is achieved through the Orthodox Church Missions in Africa and other parts of the world. Interfering with this Godly and humane purpose panned out to be irritating to the Orthodox Church faithfuls.
As a show of solidarity and loyal support to refugees, more than 30 million church faithfuls dedicated a few Sundays to raise $1million to honor refugees. Funds collected provided food and shelter to immigrants and refugees especially those crowded in African refugee camps. This was just but one of the many charitable activities for refugees conducted by the Orthodox Church who helps the less advantaged in the society in so many diverse ways. It welcomes volunteers for missions whether within the country or abroad. Building houses, schools and churches, providing food and clothing and spreading the gospel all come with the volunteer territory.
It is only Godly to welcome immigrants just as one would welcome Christ. This is a stand borrowed from the message of Christ to the Church in Matthew 25:35 “I was a stranger and you welcomed me…”. The Orthodox Church takes every immigrant for a stranger who is helpless and in need. It conducts outreach projects purposely for settling the many immigrants in America. The Orthodox Church is part of the various American voluntary relief agencies. Once a certain group of foreigners are granted refugee status, these agencies take up the responsibility of getting them into the country. They also get them homes and jobs. The church either raises the funds needed to facilitate this or identifies sponsors who offer financial contributions.
The International Orthodox Church Charity
This is an Orthodox Church charity event that was founded back in 1992. Its main purpose is to lend a helping hand to many displaced groups of people. This is by helping them improve their lives and their communities in general. Since inception, this charity has raised over $600million. This amount has in the past been used to help the needy in over 60 countries across the world through reliefs as well as self help programs for refugees. It has been used in providing education, health, sanitation, agricultural boost and promoting business ventures of the poor, more commonly, refugees in Africa and Syria.
It is through helping those in need that the Orthodox Church keeps the Biblical biggest commandment of love. Unto whom much is given, much is expected in return. Everything bestowed upon the Orthodox Church together with that collected from donors is used to help the less fortunate as commanded by the scriptures.
Cassie Steele-OCP News Service