April 2020: A Safe Port
Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I John 3: 18
There is a crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. The Romans used to call this “mare nostrum” (“our sea”) and it was a crossing point for travelers, traders, and cultures. Today, for some, it has become a lethal frontier. The death rate for migrants trying, with flimsy boats, to seek a better life in Europe, has soared. The few organizations still working to rescue asylum-seekers can be refused a safe port for weeks and, if the Libyan coastguard picks them up, there is no chance at all for a claim of asylum. Instead, they will be returned directly to detention centers and exposed to violence and abuse.
From its base on Lampedusa, Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy Mediterranean Hope is providing logistical support and crew to organizations working to rescue vulnerable migrants. Most recently, a staff member, Francesco, went aboard the Spanish rescue vessel Open Arms as part of a re-supply mission. In addition to food and other essentials, Francesco took with him colored pencils and sketchpads. He wanted to give the asylum-seekers themselves the means with which to record and articulate their experience. He found them exhausted and traumatized from the ordeal they had undergone to get to this point, an ordeal exacerbated and lengthened by the refusal of European member states to offer the ship a safe port. The world often closes its eyes and ears to suffering. Mediterranean Hope is, however, determined that the stories of the vulnerable should be told to inspire change. Global Ministries stands in solidarity with Mediterranean Hope and is helping to support its work.
Fiona Kendall served with Mediterranean Hope, Italy. Her appointment was made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.