You have five minutes. What would you grab? Who would you grab to bring with you? If you had to flee your home, perhaps never to return, what would you do? Where would you go? In the five minutes you take to plan your escape, 100 other people (20 people every minute) in some place in the world will also face the desperate and unthinkable reality of running for their lives. For some it’s violence and war, for others it’s regular and systematic persecution; and for some nature’s wrath leaves them no alternative.
Not since the ravages of World War II have we seen so many people displaced from their homes and their countries. Our present reality of over 65 million people living this way means we are truly dealing with a Global Migration Crisis. Some of the images we see on television or social media are heartbreaking — a baby boy lying lifeless on a beach; packed boats swamped by waves; tent cities crowded with families. Our first inclination is to cry or turn away so we don’t.
Our second may be to think, “There are so many, we can’t really make a difference.” Beyond the overwhelming numbers are real people with real stories, all children of God simply seeking to survive and start over.
As the Church of Jesus Christ, we are exhorted repeatedly in the Scriptures to “welcome the stranger” to “care for the orphan and widow,” to “love your neighbor as you love yourself, ’and to “do to others as you would have them do to you.” And we remember the plight of Jesus himself, as Joseph takes Mary and the infant Jesus to Egypt to flee the wrath of King Herod. Who offered this refugee family shelter and care?
In 2018, we, who make up the Northern Illinois Conference, have a unique opportunity to combine our resources to care for some of the families affected by the Global Migration Crisis. Bishop Sally Dyck invites us to do some local fundraising, to learn about the plight of migrants locally and globally, to consider having a Global Migration Sunday and to bring a special offering to Annual Conference in June as our 2018 Bishop’s Appeal for the denomination’s Global Migration Advance (#3022144).
This fund was set up in 2014 for donors to designate gifts specifically to support work that alleviates the suffering of migrants. Last year’s Bishop’s Appeal raised over $70,000 to help alleviate and prevent global HIV/AIDS! We can match or surpass that number if each church brings just $200 or more as a gift. Let’s get started now! Check back to this page as we continue to update with new resources and testimonies.