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world refugee day
People from a diverse milieu of religious traditions observed World Refugee Day by gathering for an online vigil this week to advocate for the safety and well-being of refugees and to ask for forgiveness for not doing more to fight injustices against them.
You cannot turn on the news these days without hearing about violence and displacement. We live in turbulent times. According to the United Nations, we are witnessing record high numbers of forced displacement and migration — over 100 million globally. The causes are many — civil wars, the rise in autocratic governments who violate human rights with impunity, drug wars and even domestic violence. Natural disasters, too, such as hurricanes, droughts and flooding. And when asked, most migrants will tell you that they have left home for a combination of these factors. Their destinations are often determined by where they have family or friends and the financial resources to get there.
In the past few months, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) Director the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus has seen the gravity of the global refugee crisis.
June 20 is World Refugee Day. Displaced from their homes amid unimaginable circumstances, refugees’ journeys are long and difficult.
When the Rev. Victor H. Floyd traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border with a group from Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, he was prepared to encounter a lot of pain in refugees they would meet in U.S. detention facilities and migrant shelters in Tijuana.
He wasn’t prepared for Petter.
In the coming days, Presbyterians have multiple ways to show their support for refugees in the United States and abroad, including attending a virtual town hall on Thursday.
Even before we were faced with the developments brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues and I talked about how migrant journeys often take unexpected turns and yet their faith sustains them. Forced to leave their homes and their countries, they often set out on journeys with only a vague understanding of where they are headed. Refugees and asylum seekers know that even when the physical route itself is well-known, the metaphorical journey over time is much less certain.
A day ahead of World Refugee Day, worshipers during the Chapel service at the Presbyterian Center heard a personal story from a refugee among them.
The causes of the refugee crisis along the United States’ southern border and its many communities — as well as actions Presbyterians and others can take to help stem the crisis — were among the topics of a Friday webinar put on by the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Office of Public Witness.
In this season of Pentecost, we commemorate the Holy Spirit’s movement through a local group of apostles sent to proclaim the Good News to the world — dissolving tribal divisions between nationalities and languages. At the hand of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles’ understanding of their community was literally blown wide open. In Pentecost, we are reminded that God’s love extends to all, and that we are part of one family.