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18 May 2015

World Refugee Sunday

World Refugee Sunday

The World Evangelical Alliance is asking Christians to take part in World Refugee Sunday to show concern for the welfare and protection of displaced people.

More than 51 million people in the world today are displaced people, refugees, stateless or asylum seekers.

There are 16.7 million refugees in the world, and 50 per cent are under 18 years old with most of them women and children.

The Bible has much to say on protecting vulnerable people in society from the Old to the New Testament. It also features displaced people and refugees including Adam and Eve, Cain, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Naomi, David, Esther, Jesus, Philip and Peter.

The WEA believes that the biblical message to show love and hospitality is effectively heard when people become involved with the issues surrounding refugees today.

This year's poster for World Refugee Sunday features a young man with arms outstretched in thanksgiving, and a verse from the prophet Isaiah: "Be a safe place for those on the run from killing fields." (Isaiah 16:4).

World Refuge Sunday coincides with World Refugee Day, which is taking place on Sunday 20 June, 2015.

The WEA is asking churches to take part on the Sunday before or after World Refugee Day, on 14 June or 21 June 2015.

The WEA website provides a range of resources from '10 common myths about refugees', '10 specific prayer points for refugees' and a refugee map. It also provides a practical list of action churches can take to get involved.

This includes praying for refugees, offering practical assistance in a variety of ways –language, education, culture, employment, and housing, extending hospitality, speaking up for refugees and getting involved with Christian agencies serving refugees.

In 2013, WEA helped to produce a document with faith based organisations and academic institutions titled: Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmation for Faith Leaders. The document is to help leaders in responding and supporting displaced people in their local communities.

Mr António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012 said: "

"Religion very often is key in enabling refugees to overcome their trauma, to make sense of their loss and to rebuild their lives from nothing.

"Faith provides a form of personal and collective support among victims that is crucial for their ability to recover from conflict and flight. As such, faith contributes much more than many people think to the protection and well-being of refugees"

WEA have provided a model prayer to help churches pray.

Father in Heaven,

Please be near those who are forcibly displaced today.
Some know you. Others do not. You love them all.
May they all know your presence, protection and provision.

You have not forgotten them. You know their names. You know their stories.
You know their journey. Please lead them.

You are not far from them. You know their loss and suffering.
You suffered too. Please heal and comfort them.

You are not against them. You deeply care for each man, woman and child.
Please renew their faith, their hope and their strength.

They've lost their place in the world. Be their refuge.
Graciously lead them to a safe place where they can settle and rebuild their lives.

We pray for peace, justice and reconciliation in their countries of origin.

We pray in the name of Jesus who was once himself a refugee.

Amen.

The WEA is a global network of churches and organisations concerned with global affairs and the spreading of the gospel, of which the Evangelical Alliance is a member.

More information about refugees can be found on the following websites the International Association for Refugees, Refugee Highway Partnership and The #Refugees Digest.