Welcoming refugees: an opportunity to grow together

 Syrian refugee children at a fence facing the Aegean Sea coast, Greece. Photo: ACT/ Paul Jeffrey
Syrian refugee children at a fence facing the Aegean Sea coast, Greece. Photo: ACT/ Paul Jeffrey

LWF joins faith-based organizations calling for solidarity with forcibly displaced people

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has joined the worldwide plea of a wide range of ecumenical groups for solidarity with the world’s millions of refugees suffering unbearably by being forced from their homes.

In marking World Refugee Day 2017 with the statement, “Refugees: an opportunity to grow together,” drafted by Jesuit Refugee Service on behalf of 20 organizations including ACT Alliance and Caritas Internationalis among others, called for loving action rooted in the love of Christ towards refugees by Christians worldwide.

“If we, as a human family, insist on only ever seeing refugees as a burden, we deprive ourselves of the opportunities for solidarity that are also always opportunities for mutual learning, mutual enrichment, and mutual growth,” the faith-based organizations stated.

They warned that the desire of refugees “to escape suffering is stronger than the barriers erected to block” their entry into many countries around the globe.

Wealthy nations cannot evade their responsibility for the conditions that force refugees from their homes today, including environmental disasters, the arms trade and developmental inequality, the ecumenical groups noted.

Increasingly around the world, walls are being built to keep out the displaced—physical walls, and walls of fear, prejudice and hatred. The organizations called on Christians to meet with refugees, share with them and welcome them.

“Let us all, as one human family, strive to build bridges of solidarity rather than walls of division. Our refugee sisters and brothers present us with opportunities for mutual enrichment and flourishing: it is God who brings us together,” the ecumenical statement concluded.

According to the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees, there are an estimated 65 million  refugees in the world today, most of them fleeing protracted conflict in Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other places.

LWF’s humanitarian work in 24 countries around the world in collaboration with the UN and other partners currently supports 2.5 million displaced people.

Read the full statement