From the Bishop’s Desk: Refugee Sunday

Group 236

Dear friends,*

I invite you to remember Refugee Sunday on June 22, 2014 in your prayers and your worship.

At our synod’s annual gathering last year we adopted and sent on to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly a memorial about Refugee Sunday.** Specifically, we asked congregations all across this church to remember during their worship services both the plight of refugees everywhere and the ministry of our Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (“LIRS”). Then in Pittsburgh last August the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted our memorial almost without dissent.

"[Refugees] are living in our neighborhoods and sitting in the pews of our congregations."

“[Refugees] are living in our neighborhoods and sitting in the pews of our congregations.”

And of course the refugees we are praying for are mentioned in any news report you hear or read. Some are living in our neighborhoods and sitting in the pews of our congregations.

For more information, or for resources to help you, check the web at***

As the spirit moves you, I invite you to use this prayer privately or in your worship services on June 22:

Gracious God, your servant Moses called himself a stranger in a strange land. Ruth followed Naomi seeking food and a new life. Mary and Joseph carried our infant Redeemer safely away from Herod’s wrath.

We remember that so many of your faithful people have been refugees. We remember before you the millions of refugees living among us today. May refugees everywhere find welcome and help and safety. May those who care for refugees be blessed with the resources they need. May the powers that be work for justice and peace in all your world.

We thank you for the faithful ministry of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. We thank you for the relentless work of your Holy Spirit within us, leading us to labor and pray for a day when none of your children lacks a homeplace.

Bless and keep us all, and guide us toward our eternal home with you. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

God bless you.

* The original version of this message was distributed to rostered leaders of the synod on 6/11/14.

** Read the resolution adopted by the 2013 Metro D.C. Synod Assembly, “Giving thanks and praise to God for LIRS 75th anniversary,” in full.

*** At the LIRS site are two links for useful resources: an “ELCA version of the kit” available for immediate download, and “Additional ELCA resources” accessible after a short registration process. On the page find “Courageous Journeys,” a short video which includes the quote: “It takes courage to make the refugee journey. From Joseph, Mary and Jesus to our own ancestors, this is our human story.”