Unprecedented global mobility is shifting the nature and shape of societies and Christian communities around the world. How can the body of Christ best respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by an ever-increasing number of international migrants, refugees and other people groups on the move? The World Evangelical Alliance established the Migration and Refugee Network to explore, strategize and provide leadership in helping the WEA live out its purpose in this sphere of global ministry. It aims to facilitate a coordinated response from the global to the grassroots level and strengthen the collaboration between various Evangelical Alliances, agencies and churches to serve the needs of refugees, migrants and the newest and most vulnerable communities while harnessing their contributions to strengthen local churches in their host countries.
Diaspora and displaced populations have particular needs as well as immense potential to contribute to the mission, ministry and future of Christianity. Migrant communities of faith are an asset to the Church and local congregations and in the West in particular, are helping shape a new and exciting expression of Church. How do we then catalyze this new and emerging reality?
Our work facilitates linkages between established churches and emergent communities. We partner with evangelical churches and alliances to attune, train and resource them to engage and embrace diasporic people groups. We equip and mobilize churches to be at the forefront of efforts towards a more holistic and synergistic body of Christ. The WEA is in a unique position to support evangelical churches to be the forerunners in paving the way for the integration and welcoming of different people groups. With its vast global network of churches and church organizations, the WEA can be a catalyst and a significant influence in creating pathways for the diaspora to thrive and flourish in their host nations while equipping them to be ambassadors of peace and reconciliation in their home countries.
OUR ASPIRATIONAL (KINGDOM) VISION
We journey towards the emergence of a new expression of Christian community that reflects John’s vision of a multi-cultural Church in Revelation 7: After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
To resource, support and network Diaspora communities of faith and congregations within the WEA to help shape this new expression of Christian community.
To recognize and respond to the missional opportunities presented by global migration: to welcome and walk alongside diasporic communities and co-create a shared future that embraces newcomers among us as vital and vibrant partners in faith.
Build: awareness, appreciation and connections among established churches and emergent communities
Resource: through capacity-building and training to welcome, serve and engage with diasporic people groups
Initiate: dialogue, foster partnerships, linkages and collaboration towards a more holistic, synergistic and diverse body of Christ
Develop: strategies to catalyze and mobilize churches to be at the forefront of Diaspora engagement
Generate: innovative ways of addressing challenges and optimizing opportunities presented by global people movements
Engage: with God, with churches, community and partner organizations and the global Diaspora
Learning and Adaptive
Encouraging Innovation and Creativity
Director: Chris Pullenayegem
Chris Pullenayegem immigrated with his family from Sri Lanka to Canada in 2001. He is academically trained in law (specializing in refugee and Immigration law and policy), psychology, leading change and innovation, and adult education. Chris grew up in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic context among communities fractured along these lines. His work as a Refugee Policy Analyst in Canada adds to the wealth of knowledge and experience he brings to the area of migration and Diaspora.
His interest in inter-faith work motivated him to lead an Ontario inter-faith coalition on social reform. He is a trainer in cross-cultural competencies and multi-faith awareness and is a keen observer of people movements. Chris has decades of experience working with the Church in matters relating to church renewal, leadership and new ministry development, and discipleship/faith formation. He has considerable experience in leading startups/new initiatives and brings passion, people skills and sound strategy to help them grow. Chris finds recreation in music and outdoor activities.
As a volunteer, Chris provides direction to this new network of the WEA and will help shape its growth with the assistance of a part-time Program Manager.