Thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of Africa are pouring into Europe, fleeing war, economic hardships, and persecution. People desperately seeking a better life for themselves and their children. The sheer volume of refugees is creating a crisis as humanitarian organizations, churches, and governments struggle with how to respond. As Christians, called by Jesus to welcome the stranger (Matt 25:35b), how can we help? What is the UMC’s response?
The attached statement from Global Ministries General Secretary Thomas Kemper was released on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. Click on Welcoming the Stranger to read the entire letter.
Highlights from Thomas Kemper’s letter include the following:
- “Prayer is one immediate response Christians can take, prayer for peaceful means to bring an end to military actions causing such widespread displacement of people from Syria and Iraq; prayer that refugees will be welcomed around the world with warm, calm hospitality; prayer for those who provide asylum and refugee.” Click here for a Prayer from UMCOR for the migrant crisis.
- United Methodist churches in Europe (Macedonia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany) ARE joining with others on the route of the migrants to help meet immediate needs for food, water, and clothing. To read more about local relief efforts, click on “European Refugee Aid Goes Beyond Food.”
- “United Methodist leaders in Europe and the United States are encouraging church members to contribute to the work of UMCOR. To date, UMCOR has allocated $2 million to provide the basics of life to persons displaced in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey. Next steps in ministries with asylum seekers will be guided in large part by the recommendations coming from the European Methodist Council. Contributions to UMCOR’s ongoing work with refugees/migrants in Europe and the Middle East should be made to the International Disaster Relief Fund, Advance #982450.” Click here for Disaster Response International project description.
- “Congregations that want to apply as sponsors for refugee resettlement must follow the rules of their respective countries.” In the USA, Church World Service (CWS) is one such certified refugee resettlement agency and long-term UMC-affiliated partner. For more information, visit the Church World Service website.
In serving the needs of refugees/migrants in Europe and the Middle East, we reach toward a world of peace and justice, where children can grow to adulthood without fear, and families can live in harmony with their neighbors far and near. Thomas Kemper, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
To read Thomas Kemper’s entire letter, please click on Welcoming the Stranger.