In 2000, the United Nations named June 20 as World Refugee Day, deeming it an annual opportunity to celebrate the resilience and success of the former refugees who bless our communities with their wisdom and irrepressible spirit and to examine the root causes of violence and persecution that force people to flee at an alarming rate.
The following is the text of Presiding Bishop Curry’s 2016 World Refugee Day message:
World Refugee Day
In the late 1930s the world found itself on the verge of what became a terrible war. The Second World War. Millions of refugees were fleeing from Europe and fleeing around the world seeking asylum and safe haven.
In 1938 The Episcopal Church published this poster with the depiction of Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus, and it read, “In the name of these refugees,” referring to Mary, Joseph and Jesus, “Aid all refugees.”
The United Nations is now asking the peoples of the Earth, of all religious stripes and types, to once again come to the aid of those who are refugees.
I’m standing in front of the Isaiah Wall, based on the prophecy of the words of Isaiah, in the Second Chapter of his book, where the word says that one day, people will come to Mount Zion from all over the Earth, and they will hear God’s law, God’s way, and when people hear God’s way for life,
It is then that they will beat their swords into plowshares.
Their spears into pruning hooks.
It is then that the nations of the Earth will learn war no more.
Indeed, we must find a way to end war, but we must find a way to end the suffering of human beings who are forced from their homes. So I encourage you to support United Nations World Refugee Day. And do anything that you can do to bring an end to the unhappy lot for many so that they may find life as Jesus said, and have it more abundantly.
God bless you, God keep you, and you keep the faith.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
• Prayer for World Refugee Day
Written by #ShareTheJourney pilgrim Alyssa Stebbing, Outreach Ministry Director and Contemporary Music Director at Trinity Episcopal Church, The Woodlands, Texas:
Gracious God, we pray for our newest neighbors, that those families who have sought refuge from the ravages of war and violence may find not only shelter and sustenance, but also a loving and supportive community in which to create a new beginning with dignity. Amen.
• Ways and resources to observe World Refugee Day on June 20 here.