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The Christian Church in Indiana has been proud to support our local congregations who have resettled refugees from around the world in years past. As this vital ministry is being threatened by government action, we, the Regional Board, feel the need to speak out, to offer our voices against new policies that go against our country’s tradition of providing protection to people seeking safety.

Disciples throughout the United States have served over 40,000 refugees since World War II. Although we pray for the day when all violence comes to an end, we hope to continue doing this important part of our ministry, of living out God’s call to welcome the stranger who is need, a call deeply rooted in our scripture and our history.

By halting refugee resettlement for 120 days, refugee processing has ground to a halt. Each step of the refugee security check process is time sensitive, so a pause in processing has meant that refugees are pulled off of planes, families who are anticipating their loved ones are devastated, and communities that have planned for refugees to arrive are left in limbo. Such an interruption in processing will force refugees who were set to arrive in the United States today to wait months–and even years–to go through fingerprinting, interviews, health screenings, and multiple security screenings yet again, all while their lives are in danger.

By reducing refugee admissions from 110,000 to 50,000, President Trump, with the support of some members of Congress, is going back on America’s promise to refugees and abdicating America’s leadership role on human rights and refugee protection. By stopping the resettlement of Syrian refugees and narrowly preferencing religious minorities, this announcement is tantamount to the religious test that President Trump threatened during his campaign. This is a clear case of discrimination against the Muslim community and must be decried as such.

Many of our congregations have experienced the joy of growing through helping refugees. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that by showing hospitality, “some have entertained angels without knowing it.” We hope that our leaders will reconsider their decisions, so that we may continue to welcome new angels, new neighbors, and new citizens of the United States.

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Over the next few years, teams of 4 (2 youth and 2 adults) will travel across Indiana and across the country to explore ministries addressing racism and reconciliation. These travelers will gather together after their travels to share new ideas and encourage new ministries. Youth in grades 9 – 12 and adults who are at least 25 years old may apply.

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The Regional Board of the Christian Church in Indiana voted on January 19 to call three new persons to the Regional staff. Each are part-time and together will address the ministry areas that were carried by former Associate Regional Minister, Cheryl Cloar.

Diane Zehr, Interim Associate Regional Minister

carolynnDiane graduated from CTS in 1984 and was ordained that year by the Indiana Region. She has served as a local church pastor in several locations in Indiana and Kentucky. She was Interim Associate Regional Minister in Indiana in 1990 and 1991. She was Program Coordinator for the 2003 General Assembly in Charlotte, NC. Most recently she served as the Interim Minister at Hazelwood Christian Church in Muncie, Indiana. Diane lives in Carmel, Indiana and is married to Jerry Zehr, the minister of the Carmel Christian Church. She will provide pastoral care and support to congregations and clergy in southern Indiana and will provide coordination for the Regional and General Assembly.

Carolynn Miller, Regional Coordinator for Women’s Ministries

carolynnCarolynn graduated from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 2005 and was ordained that year by the Christian Church in Georgia. She has been active in women’s ministries in the Georgia and Indiana regions. She currently serves in the leadership of Indiana Disciples women. She works in human resources for St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. She lives in Indianapolis and is married to Brad Miller, minister of Central Christian Church, Lebanon.

Sarah Haas, Regional Coordinator for Global Ministries (volunteer)

carolynnSarah is the Associate Minister of the Friedens United Church of Christ in Indianapolis. She is a graduate of CTS and a former Board member of Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ. She is seeking to more deeply connect Disciples and UCC congregations in Indiana with Global Ministries and has formed a joint committee of the Region and Conference and plans to give volunteer time overseeing that group and individually working with congregations.

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