Now is a good time to start planning a World Refugee Day worship service for Sunday, June 20th. Dedicating part or all of your worship service to honor this day is not only a powerful message to refugees in your midst, but also an opportunity to connect the ways in which our faith is shaped by migration. Many Americans have lost the direct connection to their family’s establishment in the United States, leading to questions about new migrants which ignore their own history of migration—whether forced or voluntary. The numerous biblical narratives of exile and exodus—from Adam and Eve’s eviction from the Garden of Eden right through to Peter’s visions of a new Jerusalem—offer ample opportunities to consider what the Bible has to say about refugees and migrants today.
For suggestions and support in planning your worship service, PDA has compiled a variety of tools such as minutes for mission, hymns, and prayers for your use. on the World Refugee Day Worship page. Here are a few items we would like to highlight:
- Susan Krehbiel’s meditation “Migration, Faith, and Names: the Bible as Immigration Manual” based on Genesis 17:1–7, 15–16 and Romans 4:13–25 is a good starting point, reminding us how central human migration is throughout the Bible and draws attention to what these particular texts have to say regarding questions central to today’s discussions about refugees and migration.
- Bill McConnell’s new hymn, “I Lift My Eyes” brings the heartfelt prayers of refugees to life:I lift my eyes toward distant hills,
Walking new paths, steps insecure:
You who shape heav’n, mold earth at will,
Guide now my journey safe and sure.
- Valery Nodem’s Prayer for Cameroonians outlines the challenges of refugees desperate to come to the US but turned away, only to be forced back into violence:You are a just and faithful God. Your mercy is limitless and the possibilities You offer are endless. We pray that You will wrap Your wings over Your people in Cameroon. Inspire those who are fighting in the crisis to work tirelessly to find ways out of the conflict… Open the eyes and hearts of all leaders to see You in all humans and pass laws that protect those in danger. Give us the strength and courage to pursue the task you have entrusted to us of bringing your people together and working for peace…
For more information on World Refugee Day and resources for congregations, please go to: www.pcusa.org/refugee
Please join us in the spirit of welcome by recommitting this World Refugee Day to building a safe and equitable society, where refugees, asylum seekers, and people of all races and nationalities are welcome. #WeChooseWelcome