Who is Women of Welcome? Why do we exist? What do we want to see happen?
A recent feature appeared in Religion News Services highlighting Women of Welcome, highlighting the change we believe can happen in the lives of Christian women in this country.
“Women of Welcome is a collaborative partnership between the National Immigration Forum and World Relief, one of six faith-based agencies contracted with the U.S. government to resettle refugees in the country, aiming to help evangelical women understand immigration and refugee resettlement from a biblical perspective,” Emily Miller explains in the RNS article. This is who we are, sure. But why do we need an online space talking about biblical hospitality, specifically related to immigrants and refugees in our country?
Miller goes on to explain: “This is why I am confident that this community of women is going to change the dynamic in the immigration space — I’m 100% sure of it — because of the women who are in our community and the growth that has happened with the women in the community,” said Bri Stensrud, director of Women of Welcome.”
We’ve seen change happening in the hearts of women. We’ve seen the conversation shifting in the past few years—from a place of fear to a place of compassion.
A 2015 study from Lifeway Research showed self-identified evangelicals stated their thinking on immigration was more influenced by media than the Bible. While the majority of respondents said they wanted to see immigration reform and that legal immigration is helpful to the U.S., most were not looking at immigration from a biblical perspective. In 2017 when rhetoric around immigration became more heated than ever, it became clear something had to change. The research also revealed that evangelical women were voicing concerns about security but also about compassionate treatment of immigrants and refugees. Women of Welcome was created to speak to these women and help them turn that compassion into action.
A new study was conducted by Lifeway in 2022 asked the same questions to the evangelical community and found an increase in those who say their views on immigration were informed by the Bible (up from 12% in 2015 to 20% in 2022).
Statistics can reveal what people are thinking. A survey conducted in May 2023 showed that more than 80% of people want to see the U.S. restore order at the border but also work together to pass immigration reforms that address labor shortages and inflation and protect people already here and contributing. 81% of self-identified conservatives agreed with the statement and 81% of White evangelical Protestants also did.
What people think is one thing. But we have seen true change in people’s lives over the past six years. We’ve seen “women who once supported a ban on travel to the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries now collecting items such as teakettles and thermoses to welcome Afghan women and make them feel at home in the country.”
People are getting close to their New American neighbors. Women are asking hard questions and having the difficult conversations with their friends and family. Ladies are calling their lawmakers and showing up on Capitol Hill to advocate for their immigrant neighbors. This is why we exist. We believe changing hearts result in transformed lives. Are you with us?