ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, January 19   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Bible literacy
How often do you read the Bible?







SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Paul Sydnor
 

A Welcome Response to the Shifting Refugee Crisis in Europe

A starting point: invite a refugee to go with you to visit a museum, watch a football match, share a meal.

FEATURES AUTHOR Paul Sydnor 08 DECEMBER 2016 09:44 h GMT+1
A refugee camp in Greece. / Natalia Tsoukala (Flickr, CC)

The recent evacuation of the Calais jungle, as well as the break-up of the camps in Paris, are signs of the changing mood toward refugees.



Since June 2015, the makeshift camps in Paris have been evacuated over thirty times. 15,000 displaced people have been sent out of the city to find shelter in other parts of the region. Although the flow of people through Turkey has slowed, the number of those crossing the Mediterranean to Southern Europe has increased. There are more deaths now at sea than ever before.



The French government has set up over 450 centres for reception and orientation (CAO) to accommodate the influx of new arrivals. The CAO are a temporary solution for lodging in the wake of the on-going refugee crisis.



Although the camps in France have been temporarily cleared away and the people dispersed all over the country, there is not a long-term solution. The people have simply been shifted to other areas.



In contrast to this short-term response, churches and community groups across the country now have the opportunity to offer a more durable solution by welcoming these strangers who have come to their front door.



 



A WELCOME THAT REACHES THE HEART



The scriptures give God's people a clear mandate to love the stranger as one of their own (Leviticus 19:33-34). Likewise, Jesus emphasizes that love for God and love for others belong together (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27). These expectations are relevant to church communities today in the current crisis.



On a personal level, Scripture calls God's people to action and not to waste time waiting for authorities to find solutions. The churches' response to the shifting nature of the refugee crisis is to be rooted in faith, hope and love. It stands ready to welcome the migrant, refugee and stranger as fellow human beings with spiritual needs.



We find a similar response in Philemon when Paul writes to the small house church. Paul calls on the church to receive Onesimus on the basis of a common humanity and faith (v. 12, 16-17). This kind of welcome will show the love that Paul has heard about (v. 4-7). Paul asks the small church to welcome the man they once saw as useless, and who has become like family to him.  This is similar to the current crisis. The church is being asked to see the stranger with new eyes and to respond in a way that reaches the heart.



 



IAFR IN EUROPE



International Association for Refugees (IAFR) can identify with Paul in Philemon when he says that Onesismus is like a son (v.10). Many of those who meet refugees develop friendships. If the refugees are forced to flee again, whether to somewhere within France, or to other parts of Europe, we commend these friends to other churches.



In Northern France, IAFR is preparing to open a centre that will focus on the needs of the heart as most existing efforts focus solely on providing physical relief and aid. In Rome, the association is supporting a similar ministry centre that is showing hospitality to refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom live on the streets. In Malta, IAFR is assisting refugees and migrants with integration, and in Austria, the group is in the early stages of developing ministry designed to address the educational needs of refugee children. 



Across Europe, IAFR is taking part in the network of the Refugee Highway Partnership to strengthen the international resources and perspectives needed for refugee ministry.



 



STEPS TO WELCOME



Local churches in Europe face a rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. The plight of these strangers is often ignored. It is difficult to know what is actually happening on the ground and what specific needs and opportunities exist.



I suggest the following steps as a starting point for churches to give a welcome that reaches the heart.



- Visit the CAO info webpage to locate the closest centre for asylum seekers.



- Contact the director or the organization responsible (found on the CAO page) to volunteer or offer an event for friendship building such as games, sports or some other cultural event.



- Invite a refugee to go with you to visit a museum, watch a football match, share a meal.



- Contact IAFR for more help or ideas.



 



Paul Sydnor is European Director of International Association for Refugees (IAFR). 


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - A Welcome Response to the Shifting Refugee Crisis in Europe
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities Bulgaria: Evangelicals ask government to protect religious minorities

Christians rallied in Sofia on November 18 to defend their rights. It is the second Sunday of peaceful demonstrations against a new religion draft law that could severely restrict religious freedom and rights of minority faith confessions.

 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
VIDEO Video
 
China rises 16 places in Open Doors World Watch List China rises 16 places in Open Doors World Watch List

There has been an serious increase in persecution of Christian communities in China in the last months.

 
The source of longing, according to C.S. Lewis The source of longing, according to C.S. Lewis

Jerry Root compares the search for meaning of C.S. Lewis with Saint Augustine's reflections.

 
The reliability of the Bible The reliability of the Bible

Jim Cecy, Senior Pastor, Campus Bible Church, answers the question Why is a defense of the reliability of the Bible important?

 
Bulgarian evangelicals ask politicians to defend “basic freedoms” Bulgarian evangelicals ask politicians to defend “basic freedoms”

Protests and prayers continue in Bulgaria for the sixth week.

 
That night That night

“No one came ot help that night, no nurse to numb the fright...”

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.