Commemorating lives lost on the way to safety
A day of prayer for refugees and migrants who have died on their journey to find a dignified life in Europe takes place this Sunday (18 June)
The day has been organised by the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME).
Since 2000, more than 30 000 migrants and refugees have died on their way to Europe, often drowning at sea or suffocating in containers on trucks and ships.
Churches throughout Europe have responded through intensive solidarity and humanitarian efforts at Europe’s borders and by advocating for safe and legal passage.
The Christian response has also included widespread prayer for and remembrance of those who have died.
In 2013, the General Assembly of CEC, of which the Baptist Union of Great Britain is a member, renewed a call for an annual day of prayer on the Sunday closest to 20 June, International Refugee Day, to commemorate those who have lost their lives on their journey to find a dignified life in Europe.
This year’s day is 18 June.
In an appeal to the CEC and CCME constituencies, CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen said, 'We cannot escape the facts that reveal Europe’s guilt for this unending ordeal.
'As churches and Christians our divine calling is to be witnesses and servants of the resurrection and new life in justice and peace for all, regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, or religion.'
Resources to help congregations, parishes, and other communities prepare are accessible on the CCME website.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 National Councils of Churches and Organisations in Partnership. The European Baptist Federation is also a member, alongside the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
CCME is an ecumenical organisation that serves the churches in their commitment to promote the vision of an inclusive community through advocating for an adequate policy for migrants, refugees and minority groups at European and national level. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland is one of its 28 members.
Picture | Paul Jeffrey, Serbia 2015 | taken from the CCME Day of intercession resources