“Refugee ministry is incomplete if it doesn’t reconcile the refugee spiritually with the resident.” – B. Whitesel
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I find that many of my students are launching refugee ministries and that is a good thing. But most are doing little to help their congregants and communities overcome xenophobia. A good example of a church that is helping people in the community overcome xenophobia is Friends of Refugees in Atlanta, Georgia. Directed by Brian Bollinger, I brought my Doctor of ministry students there to learn first-hand how they are doing this.
The lesson is: conduct ministry to help refugees. But the second part of the lesson is to equally help congregants in communities overcome the natural xenophobia that develops in all of us when we are isolated from different cultures too long.