Welcoming refugees has been a faithful response of the church for decades. World Renew’s first U.S. ministry was to help Cuban refugees arriving in Miami through the Good Samaritan Center. Churches across North America joined the ministry through donating food and clothes to support incoming families. Throughout the 1960s, World Renew helped over 25,000 refugees fleeing persecution. In the late 1970s, during the Vietnamese boat people crisis, World Renew was one of the first organizations that partnered with the Canadian government in the private sponsorship of refugees program. Churches such as Neerlandia CRC in Alberta, were part of a collective effort that saw private citizens participate in the welcome and resettling of thousands of Vietnamese newcomers.
This faithful tradition continues today with people across the United States and Canada opening their congregations and homes to refugees from Myanmar, Syria, Sudan, Honduras, and beyond. Churches have seen the face of God in refugees, and they’ve been forever changed.
In order to give you some ideas about marking World Refugee Day throughout the month of June, World Renew, the CRC Office of Social Justice, and the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue have designed a toolkit which you can download at crcna.org/worldrefugeeday.
As you read through the toolkit we invite you to pause and remember the journey of the individuals and families you have welcomed or are still looking forward to welcoming to your community.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- LOOK FOR World Refugee Day events in your area to take part in.
- SEND the toolkit to your pastor, church refugee committee, or worship team.
- PRINT a section of the toolkit and put it in your church mailboxes.
- SHARE the toolkit with your friends and family.
- PRAY the prayer on page 16 around your family's dinner table.