Politics & Government

Episcopal bishop: Refugee resettlement work in Wichita will continue

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas says his church will continue to help resettle refugees in Kansas despite Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to withdraw the state from the federal resettlement program.
The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas says his church will continue to help resettle refugees in Kansas despite Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to withdraw the state from the federal resettlement program. File photo

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas says his church will continue to help resettle refugees in Kansas despite Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to withdraw the state from the federal resettlement program.

Brownback cited security concerns Tuesday when he announced he was ending the state’s participation in the program, which helps resettle refugees fleeing war-torn nations.

Episcopal Migration Ministries will continue its resettlement work in Wichita regardless of the state’s position, the Rev. Dean Wolfe said in a statement late Wednesday.

“In the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas we will continue to be an advocate for those who have no voice,” Wolfe said. “With the exception of indigenous peoples, we are all immigrants to this great land.”

The International Rescue Committee, the other refugee resettlement agency working in the Wichita area, has also promised to continue helping place refugees in Kansas.

Federal officials told Kansas officials earlier in the month that they would work directly with local agencies if Kansas chose to leave the program.

Wofe said he was “deeply disappointed that the governor of Kansas has taken action to remove our state from assisting in resettling refugees in our midst.”

“It sends the message that Kansans do not welcome the chance to offer a new home to people who have endured years of violence and persecution,” Wolfe said. “This not only is wrong, it does not reflect fundamental Christian teachings about hospitality.”

Wolfe went on to list passages from scripture. “Jesus was a refugee,” his statement said, referencing the Gospel of Matthew.

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