Building a Refugee Ministries program before the Crisis
Partner church of Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples), the Reformed Church in Hungary, was ready to respond with awareness raising, advocacy, assistance and shelter as refugees flooded the borders of Hungary in 2015 because it was already working in these ministries. The church helped frame an alternative narrative of hope for welcoming the stranger based in human dignity, human rights and meeting Jesus in the refugee rather than the prevailing “fortress mentality.”
Formalizing a decades-long commitment to work with refugees, the Reformed Church in Hungary began the School Integration Program over ten years ago. In 2011, One Great Hour of Sharing helped boost the capacity of that program of this Global Ministries’ partner church. This fall as Syrian and north African refugees flooded the border of Hungary, the Reformed Church was prepared to provide immediate assistance, shelter and participate in advocacy on behalf of refugees in Hungary and throughout Europe. Once again, OGHS funds were able to assist the Reformed Church to assist in this situation of an overwhelming number of refugees at its doorstep. Rev. Balazs Odor, of the Reformed Church in Hungary and member of the Common Global Ministries Board of the UCC/Disciples, shared his story and the stories of churches in Europe with the board.
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