Bishop DeDe writes letter to Syracuse mayor: “Christians have a sacred duty to care for the most vulnerable among us.”
Bishop Duncan-Probe is pictured above with members of the South Sudanese congregation of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Syracuse. Photo credit: DJ Iglesrud for the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, Bishop of Central New York, has sent the following letter to The Honorable Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor of the City of Syracuse, commending Mayor Miner’s commitment to supporting refugees and immigrants.
February 2, 2017
Dear Mayor Miner:
I am writing to offer my encouragement and support for your commitment to keeping Syracuse a sanctuary city. As the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, I shepherd more than 13,000 people, including refugees from a number of countries. We are diverse in many ways, and while we may not all agree on political policy, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, and in our desire to fulfill our baptismal vow of “seeking to serve Christ in all persons.”
Christians have a sacred duty to care for the most vulnerable among us. In the Gospel of Matthew, verses 25:35-40, Jesus says:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.“ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (ESV)
Sanctuary, the church’s act of offering shelter, protection, and support to those in need or danger, is an ancient and enduring Christian practice. It is one of the ways that the Christian church has responded to Jesus’ charge to care for the vulnerable.
Here in Central New York, Episcopal churches are proud to support InterFaith Works, Episcopal Migration Ministries and Cristosal in caring for refugees. As Bishop, I will encourage the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York to continue these partnerships and to explore how we might exercise our religious freedom by offering sanctuary to God’s children fleeing war, torture and persecution. I assure you the Episcopal Churches of Central New York are committed to living our faith in action, seeking to serve Christ in all persons.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York