There are 65 million people displaced in the world today. That’s more than at any other time since World War II. Displaced people are on the move for many reasons. They carry nearly as many labels: migrants, refugees, aliens, immigrants, asylum seekers. More than 21 million have been granted official refugee status by the United Nations and have the potential to be settled permanently in a new home through established systems. Others will continue to search for a sense of safety and home for many years to come.
Global Migration Sunday is a partnership between four general agencies of The United Methodist Church: the Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Communications, the Board of Church and Society and Discipleship Ministries.
As United Methodists, we have a long history of walking alongside people impacted by war, violence, economic hardship, persecution, and political unrest. UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, was established over 75 years ago to “alleviate suffering without regard to race, creed, or gender.” United Methodists trust UMCOR will walk alongside families and communities impacted by natural disasters. UMCOR and its partners are also regularly working with refugees. They are eager to expand this work in response to the rapidly growing needs of those suffering as a result of migration.
In 2014, in response to the large migration to Europe from Africa and the Middle East, UMCOR and The Advance partnered to establish the Global Migration Advance (#3022144) enabling donors to designate their gifts to the important work of alleviating the suffering of migrants. We have had a strong response. To date, we have received more than $1.4 million.These gifts have provided much needed assistance impacting the lives of over 46,000 migrants. This work included food vouchers for returnees in Yemen with our partners Muslim Aid, allowing beneficiaries the dignity of selecting the food they wanted. We partnered with IOCC, the International Orthodox Christian Charities, to provide food support for vulnerable Jordanian families that were hosting refugees in Jordan, where approximately 1/3 of the population consists of immigrants. In the US, UMCOR partnered with the Desert Southwest Annual Conference as it provided temporary shelter, food, and clothing for asylees who had been released from detention.
The numbers indicate that we can and must do more. United Methodist congregations and individuals are seeking reliable ways to support the growing number of displaced people in the United States and globally. They are turning to two trusted partners: The Advance and UMCOR. Established partners including Justice for our Neighbors, Church World Service, IOCC, Muslim Aid, the Middle East Council of Churches, and annual conferences are ready to expand their work at this critical time.
A one-time Global Migration Sunday Offering, will be celebrated December 3, 2017. This offering will deepen our congregations’ understanding of the biblical call to welcome and care for the displaced. It would provide resources for individuals and congregations to respond in their community, in the United States and globally. At least 10% of resources would be committed to support the NCC/CWS-sponsored “Ecumenical Declaration: Protecting Welcome, Restoring Hope, “ thus fulfilling the United Methodist Church’s commitment to work ecumenically on this important issue. Additional funds received would support the work of jurisdictions, annual conferences, congregations, and other partners.