Educational webinar examines global refugee crisis

Sponsored by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society

Posted Oct 5, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society will present a 90 minute webinar on October 15 focusing on the global refugee crisis, U.S. resettlement and how Episcopalians can be involved in this ministry of welcome.

Presented by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Episcopal Migration Ministries and Episcopal Public Policy Network, the live webinar will begin at 8 pmEastern.

For more than 75 years, The Episcopal Church has welcomed refugees to the United States, helping them find safety, security and new lives as American citizens. Now, with at least 60 million people displaced from their homes and lives, the global community is facing the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II.

“We are all witnesses to this massive human suffering,” noted Samuel McDonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission. “As Episcopalians in the United States, we are called ever more deeply into responding to this tragedy by engaging the life-saving ministry of refugee resettlement.”

Lately, the media has been dominated by photos, videos and stories of Syrian refugees fleeing war and seeking asylum in Europe. But the violence in Syria is just one of the ongoing conflicts underlying one the largest migrations in human history. Decades of war and violence in places like Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Myanmar have forced citizens to flee and prevented their ability to return home.

“Episcopalians from across the church have been reaching out to us on a daily basis asking how they can be involved in mission and advocacy that supports refugees,” Deborah Stein, Episcopal Migration Ministries Director. “We hope that this webinar will inspire individuals, congregations, and dioceses to engage this life-saving work in new ways.”

When refugees cannot return home or stay in the country in which they receive asylum, a very small number may be considered for resettlement to a third country like the United States, Australia, Canada, and Norway, among others.

Leading the webinar will be: Allison Duvall, Episcopal Migration Ministries Manager for Church Relations and Engagement; Lacy Broemel, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Office of Government Relations Manager for Online Communications and Operations; Patricia Kisare, Legislative Representative for International Affairs, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Jen Smyers, Associate Director for Immigration and Refugee Policy, Church World Service.

Pre-registration is required.  Register for the webinar here.

The webinar will be available on-demand following the event.

Facts to consider
• Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution. Refugees are defined and protected in international law by the 1951 Refugee Convention.
• There are nearly 60 million refugees and forcibly displaced people worldwide (UNHCR,here)
• At least 4 million Syrians have been forced to flee since the outbreak of war in Syria in early 2011. (UNHCR, here)
• Half of all refugees are children. (UNHCR, here)
• Only 1% of the world’s refugees will ever be resettled to a third country. (UNHCRhere)
• The U.S. government has announced that the number of refugees being resettled to U.S. will be increased from 70,000 to 85,000 in 2016. At least 10,000 of these refugees will be from Syria.
• In Fiscal Year 2015, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society welcomed 4,874 refugees from 38 countries.

Episcopal Migration Ministries
Episcopal Migration Ministries is the refugee resettlement service of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. Each year this ministry works in partnership with its affiliate network, along with dioceses, faith communities and volunteers, to welcome refugees from conflict zones across the globe.

The Episcopal Public Policy Network
The Episcopal Public Policy Network is a grassroots network of Episcopalians across the country, supported by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and dedicated to carrying out the Baptismal Covenant call to “strive for justice and peace” through the active ministry of public policy advocacy. The Episcopal Public Policy Network is part of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Office of Government Relations, located in Washington, DC. The actions, programs, and ministry of the Office of Government Relations are based entirely on policies approved by the Church meeting in General Convention or by the Executive Council. As Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reminds us, “The voices of the people of faith must be a prophetic impetus for lasting change, toward healing the body of God.”

For more information contact Duvall,