God our strength and our redeemer,
We ask for your loving presence and for your peace to be with the people of Syria, of all religious traditions and of none. Be with those in positions of leadership, that their decisions may hasten peace and bring an end to violence. Be with those who are in fear for their safety and their lives. Be with those who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones. Give them strength and courage.
And be with us, as we listen and discern your call to us. Equip us and empower us to be witnesses to your love – as advocates and as servants, as ministers of welcome and of hope for Syrians and all those displaced by war and violence.
In your Holy name we pray,
Click here to learn about designating Refugee Sunday in your congregation.
Congregational and individual responses
The Syrian Civil War, now in its fourth year, has unleashed a humanitarian emergency in which severe war crimes — including indiscriminate massacres, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender-based violence, and other humanitarian abuses — have become widespread. According to a recent UNHCR report, more than 4 million people (through the end of 2014) have fled their homes to escape the war in Syria, adding to a worldwide total of nearly 20 million refugees, half of whom are children. This is the largest and most widespread refugee crisis the world has known since World War II. While record numbers of people are being forced to flee, powerful images of refugees fleeing Syria are compelling the world to action.
The media is publishing articles on a daily basis chronicling the most recent events and statistics. This crisis is complex geopolitically and historically (see here). The terminology can also be confusing. Follow Episcopal Migration Ministries on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date.
In 2015, the United States is welcoming 70,000 refugees to our country as new Americans. The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, through Episcopal Migration Ministries, works in partnership with its affiliate network, along with dioceses, faith communities and volunteers, to welcome refugees from conflict zones across the globe. Your local resettlement agency is always preparing for arriving families and in need of financial support, resources and volunteers. Contact an Episcopal Migration Ministries affiliate near you.
As a global leader in refugee resettlement, the US can and must do all that it can to welcome Syrians to the United States. Reach out to your Senators, Representatives, and the White House and ask them to support a robust refugee resettlement program and significant increase in Syrian resettlement.
The Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) has written a sample letter you may send to your members of Congress urging them to support increasing the number of refugees resettled by the US in 2016. You can find this letter on the EPPN action center here.
Follow Episcopal Migration Ministries on Facebook and Twitter. Share news articles and story online and through your social media networks. Generate discussions in your community about the issues refugees are facing. If you’re a teacher, use UNHCR’s toolkit for teaching young people about migration and refugees.
The ELCA offers resources for any congregation that might want to designate a Sunday as Refugee Sunday. Read more at Refugee Sunday