Not in Our Town Billings is holding a community prayer vigil for refugees Tuesday at 5 p.m. at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 180 24th St. W.

The vigil is in response "to the anti-refugee rhetoric in Montana of the last 10 days," said the Rev. Susan Barnes, pastor of St. Andrew. 

“Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus said, 'I was a stranger and you invited me in' in Matthew 25:35," Barnes said. "The Hebrew Bible says, 'You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.'” 

The vigil is Billings’ opportunity to take a stand, she said. NIOT is inviting the Billings community "to come together and show the world that the people of our state are not anti-refugee," she added.

During the 60-minute vigil, people are invited to light candles and pray. Naturalized citizens, citizens born in the United States, pastors and international visitors will be invited to speak of their experiences in this country.

Barnes will talk about the importance of listening to people who are angry or afraid of the refugee issue. Other speakers will include the Rev. Mike Mulberry, the Rev. Sarah Beck, Fitzgerald Clark, and Marty Elizabeth Ortiz, chair of Not In Our Town, Billings.

NIOT Billings envisions an inclusive community free of hatred and intolerance, where every individual is valued and where differences are affirmed. Its mission statement says, “We educate individuals, organizations and ourselves about issues of inclusion and diversity; facilitate courageous conversations; and build a community of acceptance, respect and love.”

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