Perhaps this year we are more aware than ever of the plight of refugees world- wide, as images of families and individuals attempting to flee violence have become commonplace on our TV screens and in printed media. What is called a refugee crisis is really a humanitarian crisis which, given its magnitude, is inadequately addressed by the rest of the world.
Many organizations are planning events leading up to World Refugee Day, on the day itself, and after June 20. A coalition of religious and humanitarian organizations launched a Welcome Refugees Campaign in March. Included in the resources are a USCCB toolkit and prayer. Additionally, a Refugees Welcome toolkit, also including USCCB resources, is posted on the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) website.
National Refugee Sunday is June 26th. Churches are invited to watch a video, take an offering, and pray for refugees around the world. Register to host National Refugee Sunday at your church. Your registration will trigger an email that will allow you access to free downloadable materials. You can get more information at this website.
Finally, if you or your community would like to help a refugee family for a short time in a more tangible way, consider building a Good Neighbor Team with World Relief. World Relief's mission is to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable. They have a Good Neighbors program that work to befriend a newly arriving refugee family for six to 12 months. Ways to befriend can include an airport welcome, apartment set-up, provision of initial food and clothing, and more. Get more information online.
All are encouraged to commemorate World Refugee Day, and to make use of these resources in whatever way is appropriate and possible.