More than 60 million people are currently displaced globally, the highest number since the end of World War II. As we witness the desperation of people fleeing to seek safety, countries refusing to accept them, a rise in anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment, and the growing attention and public support for refugees, we have a responsibility to act now to welcome refugees.
This opening statement by the interfaith “Refugees Welcome Campaign” signals the urgency of refugee accompaniment and challenges the United Church of Christ in all our settings to become even more personally involved in faith actions of justice and just peace with regard to forcibly displaced people around the world and in our neighborhoods.
The UCC is well-positioned to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of refugees and other displaced people around the world through partners of Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples) and members of the ACT Alliance and of the World Council of Churches. Church partners are ministering daily in strategic places and ways with refugee populations. Our accompaniment strengthens and deepens that response.
Many UCC congregations and settings have been influenced by the media coverage of refugee crises during the past year and have renewed efforts to welcome refugees and new immigrants in our midst. Active welcoming in today’s context means physical acts of hospitality and also advocacy with local, state and federal governments.
This monthly “Refugee Accompaniment Newsletter” is a tool to give access to congregations, groups and individuals for updates on Refugee Emergencies around the world, for resources for Welcoming Refugees in the United States, and as a way for congregations to connect with each other to share best practices and stories.
For daily stories and entry points into ministries that accompany refugees, disaster and sustainable development, follow One Great Hour of Sharing on social media. On Facebook, ‘like’ One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC) and follow @OGHS_at_UCC on Twitter.
Refugees Welcome – Join the Movement
Campaign Launch Call will be on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 4:00pm ET. Please RSVP by clicking here.
UCC joins the interfaith “Refugees Welcome Campaign” http://www.refugeesarewelcome.org/
As we approach World Refugee Day upcoming on June 20, faith communities from multiple backgrounds, refugee resettlement organizations, refugee and human rights leaders, and organizations that work with refugees have formed a partnership to provide a vibrant welcome to refugees among us, and to encourage our country to continue to respond to the world’s crisis by offering hospitality to most vulnerable refugees in need.
The goal of the Refugees Welcome campaign is to provide opportunities for refugees to share their experiences with faith and community groups to:
- build friendships among diverse cultures and faiths
- strengthen public and private welcome of our refugee neighbors
- promote refugee integration and leadership
- celebrate refugees’ community contributions
- Partner with your local resettlement agency or get connected with the agency long-distance: http://www.wrapsnet.org/Portals/1/Affiliate%20Directory%20Posting/FY%202014%20Affiliate%20Directory/Public%20Affiliate%20Directory%202-20-15.pdf
- Sign up to host or attend a “Refugees Welcome” event in your community (community meal, refugee story sharing, worship) http://www.refugeesarewelcome.org/get-involved/
Use the Welcoming Toolkit for ideas http://www.refugeesarewelcome.org/welcoming-resources/
The Middle East Initiative of Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples) highlights the long and strong relationships that put our U.S. churches in the heart of the current refugee crisis in the Middle East (http://www.globalministries.org/meinitiative).
The Global Ministries Middle East Initiative invites the whole church to focus on the region of the Middle East for an extended period of time. Through highlighting aspects of mission and partnership, the Initiative offers: an opportunity for the church to become familiar with the range of denominational partners in the region and the issues they face and the context in which they face them, how each of us as members of North American churches can become active in education and advocacy, as well as support the various programs and witness of partners in the region, and to learn about ways that the UCC and Disciples continue to build on an already-lasting history of engagement. The whole church can draw on various resources and tools, including VBS materials, webinars, Bible studies, a bulletin insert and more, so that greater familiarity with the Middle East is possible, including the long legacy of Christian presence there.
Donate generously to support refugees globally in immediate and long-term response – International Emergency