New York, NY - June 5, 2014
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) encourages Christians and churches around the world to remember and pray for refugees and forcibly displaced people on World Refugee Sunday, designated this year to fall on June 15 and 22. The WEA and the Refugee Highway Partnership (RHP) have prepared useful resources for local churches to participate with their congregations and raise awareness of the refugee situation globally and within their local contexts.
War, violence and persecution have forced over 45 million people in our world today to flee from their homes. The majority of them are women and children who are among the world's most vulnerable people. World Refugee Sunday gives Christians an opportunity to learn about the realities and needs of refugees, to pray for them, and to consider how they can practically engage with refugees in their own communities.
“God has given us a mandate to love the alien as we love ourselves (Leviticus 19:34),” says Tom Albinson, WEA Ambassador for Refugees and Displaced People. “The world around us is hoping that we will live up to our calling so that those who have been uprooted find a safe place in which they can find community, healing and hope.”
Refugee Mothers in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi ©IAFR
“It might require us to move out of our comfort zone to respond to the needs of refugees in our communities, to pray with them, offer them our friendship and welcome them into our churches and homes,” Albinson continues. “But God is often at work in profound ways in and through the lives of uprooted people, and He will likely use refugees to enrich our faith and lives as we develop relationships together.”
“As Christians we should also remember that the Bible is full of stories of people of faith who were displaced. Jesus himself was once a refugee, with his family having to flee to Egypt not long after he was born,” he adds.
The WEA in cooperation with the RHP has prepared various resources for church leaders and Christian individuals to participate in World Refugee Sunday. From myths and facts about refugees, a map of the ‘refugee highway’, to stories of displaced people in the Bible, specific prayer topics and ideas for practical engagement.
“I warmly encourage Christians and especially church leaders to use the opportunity of a dedicated Sunday to stand with those who have been forced to flee,” says Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA. “Explore the resources, learn more about refugees and displaced people and ways you can engage, and join us in prayer and action on World Refugee Sunday.”
Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving and representing more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA's mission is to speak as a trusted voice, to equip members and leaders for global impact and to connect its members and others for common action in the furtherance of God’s reign. For more info e-mail at [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.