World Refugee Day is celebrated on June 20th every year. It is a time for remembrance, prayer, celebration and commitment.
In 2018, we remember that there are almost 67 million people around the world forced from their homes in fear for their lives due to war, natural catastrophe, persecution or fear of persecution. We take time to look beyond our own microcosm and recognize the incredible commitment of developing countries in the developing world who host 84% of the world’s refugees.
We share the sorrow of refugees living in this country who mourn the loss of loved ones and whose hearts ache for reunification with their spouses and children separated by displacement or resettlement.
We pray for the 22.5 million of these displaced people who are refugees – who have fled countries like Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The 5 million Palestinians living in refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan for decades, even generations.
We pray for our government and for the governments of refugee host countries around the world to not become discouraged, but to work together as one global family to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees on their doorsteps
On this World Refugee Day we celebrate the former refugees who have become part of our communities and our churches. We honor the many gifts they bring to their new country. We give thanks that through their eyes we see the hope and promise that they find in our nation’s highest ideals and the deep embrace from congregations who welcome them.
On this World Refugee Day we call on our government to renew our country’s commitment to resettle refugees in need of a long term solution. In spite of a goal to resettle 45,000 refugees this federal year, only 25,000 or 26,000 are expected to arrive, leaving almost 20,000 refugees behind. We can do better.
We will write post cards and organize vigils to let our elected officials know that we are outraged by US Government policies that imprison asylum seekers and separate parents from their children in order to send a message that they should not seek safety here. We are stunned by the decision of our government to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to their cries for safety, freedom and justice.
We claim our own inheritance as people of faith to discern again our role as individuals and congregations. When we turn to scripture, we find 92 separate references to welcome and care for the stranger. We seek to be an example for our country and our world by choosing welcome over fear and hatred of the other as we seek God’s direction for us in this particular moment.
This World Refugee Day we choose welcome, again.
Visit the PDA website for more information and resources for World Refugee Day.