Refugee Sunday is December 3, 2017

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Refugees resettle in NC

December 3, 2017, has been Designated Refugee Sunday

Syrian refugee crisis

Syrian refugee crisis

Around the world today, more than 65 million people have been displaced from their homelands. The reasons vary — some because of war and persecution, others because of economic hardship and poverty — but their status as refugees and migrants unites them in a quest to improve their lives.

December 3, 2017, has been designated Refugee Sunday in the North Texas Conference, an opportunity for churches across the region to collectively discuss the topic in their churches and bring greater awareness to this growing issue. Refugee Sunday is the local effort of a larger event that The United Methodist Church also is sponsoring on the same day, called Global Migration Sunday, a partnership between the General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Communications, Disciple Ministries and the General Board of Church and Society.

Church World Service helped resettle refugees from Rwanda to NC

“Some people have really tough jobs. In this photo from last month, two staff from Church World Service help resettled refugees from Rwanda to taste peach ice cream for the first time in the Durham Farmers’ Market in Durham, North Carolina.” (Caption and Photo by Paul Jeffrey)

The North Texas Conference and The United Methodist Church are deeply committed to the cause. The 2016 Book of Resolutions statement “Global Migration and the Quest for Justice” declares, “Global migration as a factor in the quest for justice is a major priority of The United Methodist Church as a denomination that is global in its vision, mission and ministries. This concern is rooted in both a biblical mandate for justice and a commitment to the future of the church.”

As a means to enhance the experience for local churches, the North Texas Conference has compiled a collection of resources that can assist pastors or other church groups as they plan for Refugee Sunday. These include:

Additional resources from The United Methodist Church also are available at https://umcmigration.org/.

Under the close watch of police, refugees wait to walk through the Hungarian town of Hegyeshalom in 2015

“Under the close watch of police, refugees wait to walk through the Hungarian town of Hegyeshalom in 2015 on their way to the country’s border with Austria. Hundreds of thousands of refugees flowed through Hungary, on their way from Syria, Iraq and other countries to western Europe. The country’s government discouraged the refugees from lingering in Hungary and pushed them to keep moving toward western Europe.” (Caption and Photo by Paul Jeffrey)

Locally, the organization Refugee Services of Texas — the top intake agency of refugees in the state — is one of the leading agencies whose work focuses on integrating refugee families into the community.

Welcome teams greet refugee families at the airport and have a furnished apartment ready for them, and volunteers serve as mentors. The agency also provides English as a Second Language classes, employment assistance and training, and access to immigration caseworkers and lawyers.

In the weeks leading up to Refugee Sunday, the NTC Connection will be publishing a series of stories profiling refugee efforts in the North Texas Conference. Subscribe to our newsletter at www.ntcumc.org to keep up with the latest stories, and search the hashtag #NTCrefugee on your social channels for more information.