ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, July 21   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

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

POLL
Migration
Do Christians in your country have a Bible-based understanding of how migrants should be treated?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Interview
 

“Integral help for refugees must be a priority for local churches”

The Refugee Highway Partnership (RHP) round tables gathered experts, Christian NGOs and church leaders in Catania to analyse the crisis Europe is facing and find ways to “offer integral help.”

AUTHOR Daniel Hofkamp TRANSLATOR Belén Díaz CATANIA 11 FEBRUARY 2016 12:40 h GMT+1
refugees sicily The RHP round table participants met with a group of refugees living in the Mineo refugee camp in Sicily. / Joel Forster

The refugee crisis continues to be the greatest challenge for Europe today. Thousands of people are leaving their countries to look for a better life, specially in countries like Germany, Swede, Turkey or Italy.



From February 8th until February 11th, the Refugee Highway Partnership round tables took place in Catania (Sicily, Italy). Christian experts, church leaders, and associations coming from across Europe shared resources and ideas to better serve the material and spiritual needs of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Local pastors from the Sicilian regional Evangelical Alliance were also involved in the program.



Evangelical Focus editor Joel Forster covered the event, and shared some of the initiatives discussed in an interview with Spain's Protestante Digital.



Read the text translated into English.



 



Question. Can you tell us a bit about the vision of these round tables?



Answer. The Refugee Highway Partnership conference took place in Catania. People from diverse evangelical backgrounds in Europe came together to share ideas, resources, worries, and ways they solve problems in different countries.



This was the 13th edition and there were more than 80 participants coming from 17 different countries, which is a record of participation. It shows that the churches in Europe are more concerned about the refugee problem and understand that it has to become a priority.



There were ministries working at a regional level, trying to connect different movements in Europe; people who produce very specific resources for refugees (like special version of Bibles or Bible studies). Others train churches in how to make a first contact with the foreigners living in their neighborhoods. 



There were also several people working in refugee camps or just close to those camps.



There was an insistance on not only giving material aid but also focusing on the spiritual needs: to offer integral help. The aim of all the participants in Catania was to connect the local church with the refugees' needs.



 



More than 80 participants from 17 countries took part in the round tables. / J.F.



 



Q. Are there any refugees participating in the conference?



A. There are 2 refugees who have shared their stories with us. One is from Nigeria, he arrived to Italy through Libya. He told us he left some areas of desert behind, and arrived in a boat and received by the Italian authorities.



He now lives in Sicily with other 26 people in a similar condition. He is a believer, and he told us he studied audiovisual communication and hopes to find a job in that field here in Europe.



He has a passion for sharing the gospel with others. We have gone to a refugee camp here, and he talked some of the people living there now, telling them that they should look for their security and hope in God first, and then in the legal papers.



The other refugee who shared with us is a woman who now lives in Belgium, and comes from an Middle East country. In her destionation, she got in contact with an evangelical family that took her in, and it was there where she started to know Jesus.



She did not want to know about Christianity or any religious ideas, she told us, but after weeks of talking to Christians, she knew more about Jesus. She became a Christian after a very personal experience, thanks to the prayers of believers. She is a graphic designer and she would like to find a job in this area, too.



 



Q. What are these associations and ministries doing with the refugees?



A. We have heard about a ministry working in Turkey, where there are 2,5 million refugees. Many have just arrived, but others have been there for 2 or 3 years already.



Through the help of this group of people, some have known Jesus. When that happens, these new believers have a big desire to share their new faith with their people, so the ministries are trying to train them to lead Bible studies among other refugees. They give a SD card and a little speaker to the refugees, so that they can use them to hear texts of the Bible and discuss Scripture in their own language.



Another example is a local church in Germany. They have been working with refugees for more than 10 years and have a good relationship with the local authorities who let them work in a refugee camp.



The local authorities trust them and, although they cannot preach the gospel inside the camp, they are allowed to meet with the refugees outside the camp and share the gospel in activities like the “Jesus evenings.” There have been around 50 asylum seekers coming to the Christian faith in the last years.



This group is now also helping efugees to find accomodation and plans to create places where they can have a better life, outside the refugee camp.



 



Workshops, small groups and open discussions were some of the main sessions of the RHP annual conference. / J.F.



 



Q. You had the chance to go to a refugee camp. How was the experience?



A. We have been in Mineo, where there are still 2,000 people. They live in the housings of an old US military base that was not being used anymore. It is fenced and we saw the strong security measures outside.



The refugees who live there have asked for asylum, and are hpoing to get permission to stay in Italy. An evangelical pastor that usually visits the camp was leading us, but we did not get the permission to go inside the camp. But around 30 refugees were able to come out and meet with us in a house nearby.



It was a nice time of just meeting them, and get to know each other. We asked them about their situation, and each of them told us about their experience. Some started to sing worship songs spontaneously, and we prayed for each other.



I talked with a young man, and he told me that all those living in the camp  have a type of identity card to clock in every day.



Inside the camp, they live in houses which are in very bad conditions. They are distributed according to their ethnic group, origin or religion, which helps to avoid potential conflicts.



A curiosity they told us is that there is some alternative market they have inside the camp. Every week the authorities give them a cigarette packet, which has become a kind of currency inside the camp, and they would negotiate with these cigarrettes.



There are some Christian groups who meet inside the campo. There is a Nigerian Christian church, and a church for people from Ghana, Cameroon, etc.



It was very interesting to hear their stories, and it is tough to see that they depend on a permission to stay in the country. They have not much to do throughout the day, they told us. This means that there is 'too much time to think', about their families back home, their past, their lack of hope... and that can lead to depression. Many suffer under this uncertainty, waiting to get a positive answer from the Italian authorities.



We tried to encourage them and they also encouraged us with their faith.



 



Chris Wigram gave biblical perspectives on the refugee crisis in the mornings. / J.F.



Q. Finally, what was your role during the RHP event?



A. We were interviewing many people who are working with refugees in different places in Europe. There are written interviews, and also video and sound recording interviews with people who will come out from this days together. I hope they will encourage the Christians in Europe to get more involved with the refugees living in their cities.



In the coming weeks, Evangelical Focus will publish a series of interviews recorded at the 2016 Refugee Highway Partnership round tables.



 



SEE IMAGES OF THE RHP ROUNTABLE HERE:


 


POLL
Refugees in Europe
How are Christians in your country responding to the refugee crisis?
Individuals and churches are getting involved helping in many practical ways
37%
Some churches are offering help, others 'sit on the fence'
29%
Most churches openly say the 'wave' of foreigners is dangerous for European and Christian values
11%
Not many refugees have arrived to my country yet
23%
This Poll is closed.
Number of votes: 127
SEE MORE POLLS
 
 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - “Integral help for refugees must be a priority for local churches”
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
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’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
VIDEO Video
 
“No one should have to leave their values at the door” “No one should have to leave their values at the door”

Author Krish Kandiah talks with politician Tim Farron about the Christian faith, politics and secularism.

 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
Trailer: “The Peace Between” Trailer: “The Peace Between”

A film about the experience of refugees in Europe. Churches, small groups and individuals are encouraged to use it during Refugee Week: 17-24 June.

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
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.