8 May 2019 [ADRA Europe, EUD & tedNEWS]
The Seventh-day Adventist church will commemorate World Refugee Sabbath on 15 June 2019, reminding members that an attitude of hospitality is biblical and can have surprising and positive rewards.
Can you believe it? In 2019, twenty people per minute are still forced to leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.
A shocking 68 million are currently refugees or displaced people. That is equivalent to the population of the world’s 20th largest country. Not one of them chose to live the life they have been forced to follow.
Yet it is not all bad news! Churches, individuals and charities, often supported by personal donations, business or government funding, have been reaching out to refugee communities, making them feel welcome, and helping them acclimatise to their new home. In the midst of past, real traumas, they give hope. We give hope!
That is the joy we have found in sorrow as, over the past four years, we have followed refugees in their often difficult and dangerous journeys, crossing continents, deserts and perilous seas, open to abuse from people smugglers and sometimes the inhabitants of those lands they pass through.
Since 2016 we have told their stories. This year we will tell them again, but with a difference.
Seventh-day Adventists will celebrate this story on 15 June, World Refugee Sabbath – the nearest Sabbath to the UN World Refugee Day, 20 June. The celebration will include a documentary film with stories crossing Europe from Finland to Spain. We will learn how a church in the UK runs an afterschool club, giving children a boost; how a community centre in Germany provides training skills – and even forms a community choir; and how ADRA volunteers in Spain help refugees and migrants integrate into society.