In 2000, the United Nations named June 20 as World Refugee Day, deeming it an annual opportunity to celebrate the resilience and success of the former refugees who bless our communities with their wisdom and irrepressible spirit and to examine the root causes of violence and persecution that force people to flee at an alarming rate.
This year, The Episcopal Church, in partnership with congregations, volunteers and our network of 30 local affiliate offices in 26 states will welcome more than 5,000 refugees to the United States from 32 countries, from places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Afghanistan, and Syria.
"With more than 60 million displaced people across the globe, our work to welcome refugees to the United States is more important than ever," commented Deborah Stein, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. "To raise awareness and support, Episcopalians across the church are encouraged to find a local World Refugee Day activity or plan one of their own."
The following are suggestions, ideas and resources to observe World Refugee Day:
- Join Episcopal Migration Ministries and Episcopal Public Policy Network on May 12 at 7 pm Eastern for a #RefugeesWelcome World Refugee Day planning free webinar.
- Find a local World Refugee Day event on our interactive events map here.
- Host a #RefugeesWelcome dinner to support new Americans living in your community; ideas are here.
- Lift up prayers for refugees in your congregation. Worship materials are here.
- Start a conversation in your congregation and community about how you can be involved in this life-saving work. World Refugee Day bulletin insert and planning materials found here.
- Volunteer for this life-saving ministry through one of our local partners. The affiliate network map is here.
- Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network to learn more about how you can work with local and elected leaders to support refugees; info here.
All resources are on here.
For more information, visit here episcopalchurch.org/emm or contact Allison Duvall, Manager for Church Relations and Engagement, 212-716-6027.
Prayer for World Refugee Day
Written by #ShareTheJourney pilgrim Alyssa Stebbing, Outreach Ministry Director and Contemporary Music Director at Trinity Episcopal Church, The Woodlands, Texas.
Gracious God, we pray for our newest neighbors, that those families who have sought refuge from the ravages of war and violence may find not only shelter and sustenance, but also a loving and supportive community in which to create a new beginning with dignity. Amen.