Syrian Refugees Are Welcome in Ohio!

November 19, 2015

After the horrific attacks in Paris, we find ourselves once again mourning the loss of lives due to violence.  As a congregation that is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) with its strong connectionalism and ecumenical relationships all over the world, we mourn the many deaths, not only in Paris, but also in Beirut, Baghdad, and Egypt.

It is with shock, that in the aftermath of the Paris attack, a number of Governors have announced that they want to stop their states from resettling Syrian refugees, with some members of Congress introducing legislation that would stop refugee resettlement altogether.  Moved by our faith in Jesus Christ and motivated by our history as a church that deeply desires to build a lasting culture of peace, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Wooster Ohio, sees itself as a sanctuary for refugees from Syria and elsewhere.  As a community of faith, we are appalled that Ohio’s governor and presidential hopeful, John Kasich, would declare Ohio an unwelcome state for the displaced and distressed fleeing war and violence.  In this light, Westminster's Session has unanimously approved our church's welcome to Syrian Refugees as an expression of our Christian faith and shared values in the United States of America. 

November 19, 2015

Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States State Department
Foggy Bottom
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The congregation of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Wooster, Ohio, Congregation in Residence on the campus of the College of Wooster, sees itself as a sanctuary and hereby volunteers to welcome up to three refugee families from Syria or elsewhere to help them settle into our community.  We are confident we could find more sponsors within our community if needed.

We make this offer to express our Christian duty to care for the stranger in need and to help the least of these, our siblings. We hope you will give us the opportunity to help those in need.

We respect and appreciate the pursuit of national security by our country, but find the dehumanization of Muslims in general morally reprehensible.  Islamophobia is a sin, and therefore we will welcome any family, including Muslims.   

As a community of faith, we are appalled that Ohio’s governor and presidential hopeful would declare our state unwelcoming to the displaced and distressed.  That declaration is not true to American or Christian values.  We want you to know that there are people in Ohio who welcome the opportunity to care for refugees as an expression of our Christian faith and our shared values in the United States of America.



Andries Coetzee, Pastor

cc: Governor John Kasich

State Representative Ron Amstutz

Congressman Jim Renacci

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Rob Portman


Westminster’s action is not in isolation as our denomination the Presbyterian Church (USA) calls us to Choose welcome, not fear in a statement released on November 17, 2015 by the Stated Clerk, The Rev. Gradye Parsons, Office of the General Assembly, The Presbyterian Church (USA).

For more information on this action, contact the Rev. Andries Coetzee at 330-263-2398.


Keywords: syrian refugees
General Blog Archive
Related Topics
Comments (21) - Post a Comment
I am so proud to be a member of Westminster for 40 years. Helping those in need and working toward social justice is at our core. I agree 100% with our outreach to help refugees in need.
Elaine Smith Snyder at 2:49pm EST - November 19, 2015
Thank you for taking a Christian stand, Westminster Church. Our Lord himself was born a refugee and we in the Presbyterian Church (USA) understand our responsibility to welcome other refugees.
Rev. Virginia BIrks at 2:50pm EST - November 19, 2015
I am so proud to be a member of Westminster church. I was appalled that the Governor of Ohio would take the stand to refuse immigrants from Syria to settle in Ohio. I concur with the stand our church has taken.
Otis Whitmore Jr at 3:06pm EST - November 19, 2015
Dries and the Session of Westminster,
Thank you for your bold and unequivocal stand on the Syrian refugee issue and your offer to host families. A group of concerned members of First Presbyterian are holding an initial meeting this evening to discern what the calling of our church is in this matter at this critical time. I will plan to be at Westminster this evening before my meeting to stand in solidarity with you and others on this issue that goes to the heart of what it means to practice the justice and shalom of God in the manner of the Way of Jesus.
David Rice at 4:15pm EST - November 19, 2015
I was so glad to stand with you all on Thursday night. It gave me hope to hear clear, calm, and compassionate voices.
April Gamble at 9:44pm EST - November 20, 2015
Thank you everyone for attending Wednesday night's event! It gives me much hope for our community that there are those of us who are willing to stand with refugees. I know there is much opposition but these public, peaceful and positive events are the kind of education that we need to work together with the differing voices in our community. My prayer for this community is that we knock down the borders and the dividing walls from misunderstanding each other to have more open communication with the larger Wooster community for greater clarity. That we may gracefully offer words of honesty and words of justice that must be spoken for people who are in need of refuge.
Emily at 8:04pm EST - November 22, 2015
Working with refugees this past year has further clarified for me the sustainable and cooperative and co-ministry of Christ. Working alongside refugees in Tucson this past year, I see the as my friends who helped me through my own challenging times. They were the ones encouraging me. As much as we would be giving them a gift, they will return that gift ten-fold to our own community. There is a great mutuality in extending hospitality to refugees.
Emily at 8:07pm EST - November 22, 2015
Your so proud to help eh? when these Devils Hordes start killing,..will you be proud then? They will definitely eventually knock down the so called borders,...any violence on their part is on you,...time will tell if i am correct or you are wrong. Also,..the Christian stand is against Satan,...think about it,..see what these people ( Syrians ) are doing in France and other European countries, Germany. Take a good look.
Dan at 6:41pm EDT - September 8, 2016
How can my wife and I help Westminster Church with its Syrian refugee initiative? 330-439-8551
Dennis Boen at 12:40pm EDT - September 4, 2017
Syrian refugees have been made part of the main elements for the humans. The ramifications objects have been stated for the options to write my essay for the good and illustrations for the humans.
Elijah Moreton at 10:57pm EST - January 17, 2018
Pattern of this site is not found, may be there is any issue in the server. You can get the best pattern with review and can get the new policy with the best passion. Enjoy the best session and find the new thread.
Melissa Everett at 9:13am EDT - June 7, 2018
Awesome! It sounds great. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing.. packers and movers pune
seo at 8:17am EDT - September 18, 2018
We respect and appreciate the pursuit of national security by our country, but find the dehumanization of Muslims in general morally reprehensible. soundcloud downloader
paulafoster at 2:41am EDT - September 26, 2018
I love it! am going to share your post to my friends, keep posting!delhi to jaipur taxi
eward fox at 2:51am EDT - October 11, 2018
Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us

barbie games online play
diveno at 2:08am EST - November 16, 2018
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love learning extra on this topic.
Parallel Profits Review
james at 9:28am EST - November 22, 2018
The article you have shared here very awesome. I really like and appreciated your work. I read deeply your article, the points you have mentioned in this article are useful

Fireboy And Watergirl
Fireboy And Watergirl at 3:25am EST - December 20, 2018
I think this is a really good article. You make this information interesting and engaging.
abbas at 2:19am EST - January 16, 2019
Be careful about letting your child play online video games, especially games with live audio. There can be foul language in these channels, as well as a lot of bullying behavior. There can also be child predators in these chat rooms. Know what your child is doing and monitor these chat times for their protection.
FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery 5.4 Crack
CyberLink YouCam Deluxe 7 Crack
mark at 2:17am EST - January 24, 2019
The terrace covers can be removed to maximize sun and daylight over the winter periods. This home is distributed as follows: L-shape living room with dining area and access to both terraces; kitchen; en-suite master bedroom; two guest bedrooms sharing a bathroom. There is also a small storage room at the entrance.
Villas for sale in Sierra Blanca Country Club at 9:45am EDT - April 24, 2019

Post A Comment

Name: (*Required)
Email: (*Required)
- Not Displayed With Comment

« Back to General Blog
Recent Sermons
Recent Newsletters
Sign Up For Updates

Give Now

Westminster accepts electronic donations through the Presbyterian Mission Exchange