Observing World Refugee Day on June 20
“In the name of Mary, Joseph and the Lord Jesus, aid all refugees today, for most of the refugees like the Holy Family themselves, are families, and most are children,” commented Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry in his 2017 World Refugee Day Message. “I invite you to observe June 20 as World Refugee Day to learn more about the crisis and to find ways that you can both pray and help in other ways.”
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.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, and is one of nine national agencies that work in partnership with the government to resettle refugees in the United States. Episcopal Migration Ministries currently has 31 affiliate offices in 23 states.
The Presiding Bishop’s video message is here. The transcription is located at the end of this information.
Episcopal Migration Ministries toolkit
In 2017, World Refugee Day falls within the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and one of the toolkit items provides ways to host an Interfaith Panel Discussion & Prayer for refugees followed by an Iftar meal (literally translated to breakfast).
“Faith is one of the primary drivers for many involved in the important work of refugee resettlement,” commented the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. “We hope, by gathering members of and in communities across this land to eat together and share aspects of their own particular faith traditions regarding welcoming, that we can deepen our relationships and inspire even greater ministry on the local level.”
- Find a local World Refugee Day event on this RCUSA list of Nationwide Events.
- Host a #StandTogether Interfaith Conversation, Prayer and Dinner in honor of World Refugee Day, resources available 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 here.
- Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network to learn more about how you can work with local and elected leaders to support refugees.
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry
2017 World Refugee Day Message
In the late 1930s, as the world was on the verge of being plunged into an apocalyptic Second World War, Episcopalians and the Episcopal Church gathered together and began work to resettle those who were refugees fleeing terror in Europe, helping to resettle families, helping to resettle young people, helping to resettle people in this country in safety and security.
Since the 1930s, Episcopalians have been involved in the work of resettling families and people who are refugees, some 80,000.
At that time, in the 1930s there was a poster that depicted Mary, the baby Jesus, and Joseph. Mary was on the donkey. They were clearly on a journey. They were fleeing Palestine. They were seeking to find safety in Egypt. They were refugees. The poster from the 1930s read, “In the name of these refugees, aid all refugees.”
In the name of Mary, Joseph and the Lord Jesus, aid all refugees today, for most of the refugees like the Holy Family themselves, are families, and most are children.
I invite you to observe June 20 as World Refugee Day to learn more about the crisis and to find ways that you can both pray and help in other ways.
God bless you, God keep you, and you keep the faith.