Dear Governor Hogan
I am writing to you about your position on Syrian refugees resettlement. The Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) invited congregations around the country to consider the Biblical mandate to provide hospitality to strangers including those Syrian refugees who are fleeing civil war. After such conversation, the leadership team of Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in North Bethesda voted to lead our congregation in helping resettle Syrian refugees if the opportunity arises in Maryland. We believe this to be a moral obligation of Christian hospitality that befits the followers of Jesus Christ our Lord. We believe Jesus to be the incarnate love of God born to a family who was also forced to flee for their lives. In this season of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, we are acutely aware of our call as Christians to care for others.
We understand and accept the challenges this presents to us if the opportunity arises and are prepared to face those challenges with faith, hope and love, undergirded with prayer. A process is in place that ensures that refugees entering this country are safe and it is constantly being improved for that very purpose. We support a fair and rigorous process of refugee resettlement that can be maintained while also sustaining the Biblical moral imperative to welcome the stranger.
We stand ready to be among those who will do what is possible to provide a safe place in Maryland for people fleeing the ravages of war. This is our Christian obligation.
Our hope is that you, as Governor of Maryland, will change your current position on the resettlement of Syrian refugees in our state. Maryland has historically been a state that welcomes those seeking a new home where freedom may flourish. This remains true and we hope you will provide positive leadership.
We also give thanks to God for your recent announcement of complete cancer remission. Alleluia!
The Reverend Dr. Roy W. Howard
Pastor, Saint Mark Presbyterian Church