Planning for Refugee Sunday
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is celebrating 75 years of promoting
access to the justice system, immigration benefits and legal protection for all
immigrants and refugees.
World Refugee Day 2014 will be very different than past observances. Not only is 2014 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s 75th year of walking with migrants and refugees, but at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, this church boldly declared June 22 as Refugee Sunday.
All congregations are invited to celebrate this day and recognize the struggles of migrants — from displaced Lutherans after World War II to youth fleeing gang violence in Central America today. To facilitate this, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has created a Refugee Sunday kit as a resource for worship and celebration planning.
The kit has a variety of resources for an engaging, exciting and productive service or discussion. Included is a ministry leader guide to help congregational leaders build a sermon or lead an adult forum. The guide has facts and statistics on refugees. For example, few realize that when refugees are welcomed by a congregation, they learn English more quickly, get better jobs and become more productive members of the community.
The kit also comes with a bulletin insert, ready to be photocopied, which features a litany and ways to be personally involved with migrants and refugees. Access is provided to a short video about refugees to play during a worship service or another activity.
There’s one more thing enclosed in the kit: a reply form. With the support of Lutherans, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has come far in the past 75 years. To honor past journeys and those to come, it is challenging Lutherans to step up through opportunities to support migrants and refugees in practical ways, so that they can start their new lives here in the United States.
The kit truly encourages the participation of all congregational members. Last year, R. Mark Taylor, then the pastor at Plentywood Lutheran Church in Plentywood, Mont., used the 2013 Refugee Sunday kit and recognized the walk of all those who seek freedom and security, whether they are a next-door neighbor, a Central American migrant or a refugee. He said, “We are still a nation of refugees and immigrants … the question is, what will our response be to those who seek freedom and security?”
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and thousands more are answering that question on Refugee Sunday by walking with migrants and stepping up to welcome the stranger. Start planning now to take part in Refugee Sunday 2014!