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Bishop Peggy Johnson "2018 - "Year of the Migrant"

December 07, 2017

The Year of the Migrant

In the midst of the joyous celebration of Christmas, there is a backdrop of suffering around the globe in the form of migrants.  Studies indicate that there are as many as 65 million migrants, immigrants, refugees and displaced people in the world today. More than half of them are under the age of 18.  There are many reasons why people leave their homes: war, persecution, weather disasters, genocide, and terrorism.  For the most part, migrants experience extreme poverty, disease, dangerous travel, unbelievable conditions of hunger, cold, lack of medical attention, sanitation and sadly many times they face discrimination and rejection from the receiving countries.  

As the people of God, we cannot turn a blind eye to this suffering. I would like 2018 to be the “Year of the Migrant” in the Philadelphia Area.  I would ask that every church do at least one thing to help this global crisis.  Donations can be sent to the conference office, marked “migrant ministries”, churches can engage in studies about the issues, we can speak to our lawmakers about the migrant situation, and even helping to settle refugees in our communities.  Several of our churches are already doing this kind of work and could use more help.  

Remember that when we help those in need we are helping Jesus, the one we welcome at Christmas time.  Even he and the holy family were refugees in Egypt, escaping the terror of murderous King Herod.

Jesus said “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me….truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35, 40)

What will your church do this year to help with the Migrant crisis?

Global Migration -Addressing the global refugee and migration crisis.
Advance #3022144

Describe the purpose of the project:

Millions of refugees are fleeing war, persecution, and violence in their homelands, often running with just the clothes on their backs. Other migrants are escaping from untenable situations of hardship and poverty in their home countries. Refugees and migrants are crisscrossing the world. They are traversing borders in Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Asia, in search of safety, protection, and a chance at life. But from start to finish, their journey is treacherous. Those who embark on it include Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghanis running for their lives from war and repression; Central American youths fleeing the threat of gang recruitment or death; and Africans escaping poverty and conflict, thousands of whom have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in the ill-equipped boats of smugglers. In Asia, Bangladeshis, and Rohingya from Myanmar, flee repression and poverty, only to be turned away in the rickety boats in which they came in hope of finding safety. Those who make it to a new place are not necessarily assured they can stay, and many are turned back. UMCOR and Global Ministries are addressing the global refugee and migration contexts guided by four principles: the right to stay and flourish in one's country of origin; safe passage for those with no viable alternative but to leave; welcoming and belonging, a process wherein migrants, refugees, and receiving communities work together to meet the needs of new arrivals; and support for the returned to help them reintegrate with dignity into their home countries after deportation.

United Methodist News Service story - "Global migration focus of Dec. 3 observance "