Refugee and Migrant Sunday (31 August, 2014)
This Sunday is Refugee and Migrant Sunday.
Around the world today, there are more than 50 million people who are refugees. As violent conflicts continue to devastate communities and countries, many are fleeing for their lives, often crossing to neighbouring countries. A number of the poorest countries in the world continue to be those who provide shelter to those who seek refuge.
Over the past year, the Uniting Church, in South Australia and nationally, has been very involved in supporting and advocating for refugees. Many of us are migrants or have been refugees ourselves, and are grateful for what Australia has offered to us, giving us an opportunity to flourish.
I invite you to take time this Sunday, and in the coming week, to pray for refugees and migrants throughout our world, and for those who are part of our local communities and nations.
If you are interested in hearing from refugees in our communities, there are people who would be willing to come and speak with small groups in local churches about their experiences of coming to and living in Australia. Contact the Communications team for further information.
A prayer and reflection has been written especially for this Sunday by Neryl McCallum, a member of our Presbytery and Synod worship team. You may choose to use this as a resource in worship, or for your personal prayer time.
We remember that Jesus was a refugee, and that God invites us to offer God’s hospitality and love to those who seek asylum and refuge among us.
Yours in Christ,
Uniting Church in South Australia
God of justice, remind us that when we use the terms 'refugee' and 'asylum seeker' we are not talking about an abstract idea, but we are talking about people, people with hearts that pump blood, and souls that hope and dream for a better world. Remind us of our common humanity; remind us that we are kindred, one with another.
Life-giving God, remind us that refugees and asylum seekers are people that have lived through terrible circumstances and have survived traumatic events. They are the victims of war and catastrophic natural disasters, they have seen their homes destroyed and friends and family abused and even killed, they have suffered inhumane crimes under repressive regimes. They have fled their own lands in fear, often without warning and only with what they can carry in their hands and on their backs. Remind us that they are victims, and this has left them vulnerable and distressed in ways that we cannot fully comprehend.
God of love, call us to be those who live out your compassion, to uphold people in their frailty, to speak for those who are silenced, and to care with those who are in need of a helping hand.
God of joy, we celebrate the contributions people from many lands have made to our society, and delight in the richness and colour there is to find and explore in our multicultural nation.
God of all, we know these things remain - faith, hope and love - as we pray for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants today, be with us as we venture to live out the faith that stands steadfastly on the tenet of love of neighbour and welcome to the stranger, call us to be bringers of hope, equip us to love with purpose and grace.
Latest Refugee Statistics
Click here to view and download the latest statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for your consideration and prayer:
Statistics on Refugees from UN High Commissioner (382 kb PDF)