This Sunday, the Episcopal Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, which begins the six-week season of Epiphany. Epiphany recognizes the manifestation of the divine in Jesus and recalls the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt to escape the tyranny of King Herod, who ordered the Massacre of the Innocents in Bethlehem.
Forced to flee, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus became what we now call refugees.
The Holy Family’s experience is mirrored today in the plight of more than 60 million displaced persons worldwide, including at least 19 million refugees. Many are in camps or cities in places such as Rwanda, Kenya and Jordan, hoping that someday it will be safe enough to return to their communities. Some, however, find that they must journey to a new country to begin again. For 70,000 refugees in 2015, that journey brought them to the United States.
The journey of a refugee is never easy. Someday these journeys may no longer be necessary; someday persecution and violence may cease to drive displacement and rob refugees of their communities and nations.
Until that day, please join Episcopal Migration Ministries in working toward safer, brighter futures for refugees.
For more than 75 years, the Episcopal Church has welcomed and supported refugees in the United States. Working in partnership with Episcopal faith communities as well as with local governments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and a network of 30 affiliate offices, Episcopal Migration Ministries provides safe passage, vital services, hospitality, and friendship for thousands of refugee families resettling in the U.S. every year.
Over the next three weeks, Episcopal Migration Ministries is providing bulletin inserts and Lesson Plans That Work that will help you learn more about the plight of the refugee and how you can join this life-saving and life-giving ministry.
To learn more about supporting refugee resettlement on a local level, contact Allison Duvall, Episcopal Migration Ministries program manager for Church Relations and Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/emm.
O God, we ask your living protection of all refugees yearning for freedom and hope in a new land. May we ever remember that the Holy Family, too, were refugees as they fled persecution. Bless, guide and lead us in faith to open doors and to open our hearts through this ministry of hospitality. Give us strength, vision and compassion as we work together to welcome those in need. We ask this in the name of Christ. Amen.