Refugee Sunday: How will you celebrate?

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The filled and collected backpacks ready to be blessed and given to families released from detention centers.
The filled and collected backpacks ready to be blessed and given to families released from detention centers. Credit: Ronald Richter

For several years, we at LIRS have encouraged supporters to choose a Sunday to focus on refugees. Many churches and groups have faithfully participated and have used their Refugee Sunday service to learn about the global refugee situation, pray for people forced to flee from home, and celebrate refugee neighbors.

Today, we encourage you and your congregation to continue this tradition of celebrating Refugee Sunday. We’ve just released a new set of interactive materials to help congregations like yours learn about and lift up the refugee experience in the context of Christ’s church.

A Refugee Sunday of Service

Memorial Drive Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas used Refugee Sunday as an opportunity to prepare backpacks of supplies for families released from detention centers in their state. When families are released, they often need to travel by bus across several states to reach family or friends to stay with. Donated backpacks provide toiletries, baby formula and diapers, blankets, food, and a way to carry what belongings the family has.

Pastor Ron blesses the backpacks that will be given to families recently released from immigration detention.
Pastor Ron blesses the backpacks that will be given to families recently released from immigration detention.

Pastor Ronald Richter describes his church’s dedication to the rights of migrants and refugees and how his congregation worked together to celebrate Refugee Sunday.

Memorial Drive Lutheran Church (MDLC) applied for a grant from Lutheran World Hunger to support women and children being released from detention facilities. After the grant was filed, a visit to Interfaith Welcome Coalition of San Antonio (IWC) revealed that the number of people released had increased and there was no constant committed supply of backpacks.

Our church decided to provide 50 backpacks per month, which would be offset by fundraising participation from the greater Houston community.

When we saw the request by LIRS to hold Refugee Sunday, we presented a message that covered the history of our church as advocates for immigrants and the urgent need to support women and children being released from detention centers. Our presentation focused on the process of applying for political asylum in the United States. We also described the conditions in the detention centers and the need for the congregations help in providing backpacks for the women and children released from detention.

We are committed to advocating for fair treatment of women and children in detention centers that provide safe conditions and standards. Our work is not done and we are asking for you to get involved.

A sign wishing for safe travels for families released from detention.
A young man holds a sign that says “Good luck and safe travels.”

Resources for Your Refugee Sunday

Complete with sermon notes, refugee stories, litany, an updated refugee quiz, bulletin inserts, and other resources, the LIRS Refugee Sunday Worship Package will guide your congregation through a conversation about one of our nation’s most pressing issues.

Refugee Sunday PosterToday, the world is facing the greatest global refugee crisis since the end of World War II. Indeed, we have witnessed a spike in hate crimes in recent months, which has led to increased anxiety and fear within migrant and refugee communities across the country.

Yet we are not discouraged. We continue to meet refugees and those displaced by violence with God’s abundant love.

Visit LIRS.org/refugeesunday to get started!

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