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World Refugee Day: Call to commemorate lives of migrants and refugees lost in the Mediterranean

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) together with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) is inviting churches to commemorate the lives of thousands of migrants and refugees who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean, seeking safety on their way to Europe.

The rescue vessel MV Phoenix in harbour in Malta, March 2015.
The rescue vessel MV Phoenix in harbour in Malta, March 2015.

CEC and CCME are encouraging churches to hold online commemoration services, prayers or vigils around World Refugee Day on Sunday, 20th June 2021, in line with the Covid–19 measures.  CCME has published resource materials on its website, which can be used for worship or intercessions during a service.

In a recent joint letter, CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen and CCME General Secretary Dr Torsten Moritz remarked: “In this period of Ascension and Pentecost, filled with hope and light for all humankind, we are deeply saddened and disturbed by the suffering, hopelessness and death, which continues for thousands of our human brothers and sisters on the outer borders of the European Union.

“As churches and Christians, our divine calling is to be witnesses and servants of the resurrection and a new life in justice and peace for all, regardless of ethnicity, nationality or religion.  Let us jointly remember the documented, as well as the undocumented persons, who have died at our European borders, seeking safety from violence, war or economic desperation. Let us share our sorrow in prayer.”

The invitation affirms a call from CEC’s 2013 General Assembly in Budapest, inviting churches “to commemorate those who have died on their journey to find a dignified life in Europe through an annual day of prayer.”

The International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants project records deaths and disappearances of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, who have gone missing along migration routes worldwide, including in the Mediterranean where 813 people are thought to have died since January of this year.

This information includes the estimated number of missing persons and survivors from individual sinkings, migrants’ countries of origin, and last known locations.  More information, which may help to inform intercessory prayer and those seeking to minister to migrants, is available at https://missingmigrants.iom.int

Shared on behalf of the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue

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