BREAKING: MENIFEE: Local church targeted after offering housing to Syrian refugees

Menifee United hurch of Christ has become the target of harrassment following an announcement of its willingness to accept Syrian refugees. Courtesy photo
Menifee United Church of Christ has become the target of harassment following an announcement of its willingness to accept Syrian refugees. Courtesy photo

A local church has been targeted after announcing it is willing to house Syrian refugees.

Reverend Bill Freeman of Menifee United Church of Christ, located in Sun City, said the church has been a target of complaints since making the announcement on Friday, Nov. 20, that the church was offering to house those fleeing the conflict in their home country.

“We remember the picture of a Syrian child face down on the beach,” said Freeman when he disseminated the news of the church’s willingness to help the refugees. “We want to do whatever we can to alleviate the suffering of our Syrian brothers and sisters.”

But on Tuesday, Nov. 24, Freemen reported the church had become the target of complaints following its announcement.

“A sign reading, ‘This church is a blasphemous cult,’ was found in the front yard of the church,” wrote Freeman in an emailed statement to Valley News. He also reported a voicemail was left on the church phone threatening protests.

“I was shocked by the hatred that was expressed,” said Freeman. “We are just trying to do what I believe Jesus would want us to do and then this happens.”

Freeman contacted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department who is currently investigating the case, Department Spokesman Deputy Mike Vasquez said.

“We did receive a call from Reverend Bill Freeman regarding the incident. He has reported the incident to deputies from the station and they are currently investigating it just like they would any other crime at this point,” Vasquez said, adding that the harassment doesn’t meet the level of a hate crime.

“We are looking into all of the avenues that are suggested with the signs and other evidence they uncovered in their investigation,” he said.

Regardless of the harassment the church is facing following its announcement, Freeman said its willingness to help hasn’t changed.

“They are all our brothers and sisters and they just happen to come from Syria and we love them and would welcome them with open arms and these messages won’t change our resolve a bit,” Freeman said. “We shall not be moved.”

The investigation is ongoing and those with information regarding the incidents should contact the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Perris Station at (951) 210-1000.

To date, 31 state governors have said they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states. California Governor Jerry Brown has gone on record saying the United States needed to continue to be a place of refuge for those who are oppressed but that refugees needed to be thoroughly vetted.

The final say on the immigration issue will ultimately fall to the federal government, though individual states can make the acceptance process much more difficult, according to experts in the immigration field.

Menifee UCC currently houses four homeless people in its church and would be able to take in a couple of Syrian refugees, said Freeman. Menifee United Church of Christ is located at 26701 McCall Blvd. in Menifee.


7 Responses to "BREAKING: MENIFEE: Local church targeted after offering housing to Syrian refugees"

  1. Fed Up   November 24, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I can understand that. There are serious questions about the religion of Islam and its aims, beliefs regarding “infidels” and the terrorism wrought by some of those believers of Islam. There are many, many in this country, including many in power who feel it is risking our own safety to admit followers of this belief into this country…and here is a group who wants to bring them into our community….

  2. Christopher   November 24, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Pastor Bill, truly you have been Baptized in the Spirit, why some are bothered. Often I ask people that are proselytizing me, “If a family contacts me tonight that are living in their car, is there anything your church congregation can do for them for one night? The response tells me if they understand the Good News or sadly just part of an ego driven Jesus Jacuzzi movement.

    Thank you for looking out for the Syrian families, the descendants of the Apostles, my guess is you are making the devil nervous and those that fear their next life. People, if you have no compassion for these people then I weep for you, as your day to suffer has not yet greeted you.

  3. Ramona   November 25, 2015 at 12:53 am

    We were shown photos of the drowned toddler in Greece, sir, in the media. We were not shown photos of the massacres in Paris, of the critically wounded & injured, of the collection of pools of blood described by survivors, of the life-less corpses. The media doesn’t show us those images & that’s unfortunate because you’re swayed by the restricted & often biased information that is presented to us.

  4. Vince   November 25, 2015 at 8:59 am

    isn’t just isn’t this just a propaganda play? Seriously as if we don’t have enough homeless women and children in Riverside County even more in Southern California? Jesus would help those closest to him, wouldn’t he?

  5. Jerry Hirsch   November 25, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    We destabilized the region by needlessly invading Iraq, then we supported Syrian rebels in their bid to overthrow Assad. Both actions created a power vaccum that ISIS and other incredibly violent groups now fill.

    We share much of the responsibility for this crisis and should at the very least provide assistance to the millions of refugees our incredibly short sighted policies have caused.

  6. jibalt   November 29, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    It’s so rare to find “Christians” who act like and obey the commands of their Christ.

    “Jesus would help those closest to him, wouldn’t he?”

    Gee, and here I thought he supposedly saved everyone.

  7. Pingback: Is this persecution of Christians? | Dating Jesus

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