Event to focus on migrants, refugees and displaced people
by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — The theme is set for the 2018 Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day, to be held April 20, in Washington, D.C. The annual daylong gathering at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church provides Presbyterians with the opportunity to engage on major social justice issues. This year’s theme is “A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People.”
“We are in very difficult times with high levels of migration, racism, xenophobia and sexism in our society,” said the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Office of Public Witness. “Coupled with violent conflict, climate change and corruption, we need to find solutions to these critical issues.”
Hawkins said the series of workshops and presentations will help attendees learn how the church and its partners are confronting white supremacy and nativism while supporting refugee and migrant populations in the U.S. and abroad.
“We see what is happening with Syrian refugees and the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Palestinian Christians are leaving in record numbers. A Palestinian Christian recently told a group of us in Jerusalem that the city used to be 40 percent Christian. Now it’s 2 percent,” said Hawkins. “We have asked a number of experts to come and talk with us about the refugee situation here in the U.S. as well as internationally.”
Last year, more than 260 people attended CPJ Day, a record number. Hawkins is hoping to top that this year.
“I think churches are showing a lot more interest in advocacy, especially around some of the national issues that have been presented,” he said. “I believe there is a sense of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters over deportation and the fear by many of not being able to get into this country.”
Hawkins said the refugee crisis has prompted a number of Presbyterian churches to become engaged on the issue.
“A number of congregations have adopted refugee families and that’s one of the best-kept secrets in our denomination,” he said. “Wherever I go, I hear people talking about helping Syrian families or others. We often hear of the permanent bonds that have been developed by those churches and the families they help.”
CPJ Day coincides with Ecumenical Advocacy Days at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel. More than a thousand advocates gather for a weekend of workshops and lectures followed by a lobby day on Monday, April 23, where attendees head for Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers.
Click here for more information on CPJ Day.
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