World Refugee Day, June 20
“When was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you?” – Matthew 25:38
World Refugee Day – June 20, is a day to lift up refugees displaced by war, civil unrest and persecution, all of which tear away at the fabric of human community.
Of the eleven million refugees in the world today, seven million have been “warehoused,” in camps or segregated settlements for 10 years or longer. In camps, refugees live in crowded conditions in some of the most remote and inhospitable living conditions. Refugees are not allowed to grow their own food. Nor are they allowed to earn an income for their labor. They survive on meager food rations and water that is trucked in or wells which are dug for them. Waiting in line for water is a major activity of the day. Tents and temporary structures become permanent homes. Safety is not assured. Refugee camps are not safe places to raise a family and yet many children are born there. While refugees wait for the opportunity to return home, locally integrate or be resettled, they stagnate, become dependent, lack stimulation, lose motivation and even hope resulting in a tremendous waste of human potential.
There are several ways you can help refugees
Bring attention to the issue of refugees. Find a day to lift up refugees at your church. Worship resources are available at:
Church World Service
United Church of Christ
11.5 million: Number of refugees & asylum seekers worldwide
7 million: Refugees who’ve spent 10+ years in camps
21.3 million: People forcibly displaced in their own countries
58,813: Refugees resettled in the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2005
Middle East: Region with the largest number of refugees
Global Ministries statement regarding immigration issues
World Refugee Day – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
Church World Service
Church World Service and its member denominations, including the UCC and Disciples of Christ, provide help and homes to refugees, and work to build a hospitable community in the United States for uprooted people. Each year, CWS resettles about 8,000 refugees and entrants in the United States, with congregations and affiliate agencies providing services locally. UCC Refugee Ministries helped resettle 711 refugees in 2005. In refugee camps in Africa and Asia, CWS provides health care and post primary education through its Durable Solutions for Displaced People program. You can help welcome refugees and be a part of the solution overseas providing support for refugee programs abroad.