North Carolina Pastor Leads Community in Helping Refugees Resettle in Durham

Durham-based Pastor Bill Bigger recently launched the Hope House, a project led by his Hope Valley Baptist Church aiming to provide temporary shelter and support to recently arrived refugees from Africa.

The Hope House, opened in March 2017, was supported in a church-wide vote despite resistance from some parishioners. Bigger told the UNHCR, “There were absolutely some folks scared based on rhetoric they were hearing….I don’t see this as a risk for us except that it calls us to invest our time and our energy for caring for people…..We tried to share the facts about the number of people who have been coming into our community in recent years and have been settling here, have been making a living, have been establishing their families and haven’t caused any trouble….We had about a four- or five-month discussion and discernment and even prayer process. I preached, not regularly but several times, about what I see as the biblical call to welcome the stranger, to be a neighbor to people, no matter what their backgrounds. I have told them that refugees are not causing danger but they are escaping fear and that they are the ones at risk.”

North Carolina-based media outlets have widely reported on Bigger’s resistance to President Donald Trump’s calls for immigration ban, including his signature to a letter signed by over 500 Evangelical leaders across the country urging Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence to reconsider their policies on refugee resettlement.

The video was released as part of a larger campaign around the release of the UNHCR’s Global Trends Report 2016 and World Refugee Day, slated to take place on June 20.

Click here for more information. Credit: UNHCR via Storyful