New figures from the United Nations have shown that the number of displaced families fleeing conflict has reached the highest number ever recorded, with nearly 37,000 people being forced from their homes every day and almost 70.8 million people forcibly displaced last year.
Emily Holden from the Welcome Churches initiative, a network of churches who work to integrate refugees into their church family, told Premier the figures were shocking and that Christians should remember that the large numbers represent just as many personal and tragic stories of fleeing from home.
When asked how Christians should respond to these figures, she said: “I always think that best response should be do we know those people ourselves? Do we know people who have fled conflict? And do we have those people in our lives?
I mean, the reality is in the UK now that no matter where the church is, there is something that they can do to welcome refugees and to know people who have fled conflict, fled persecution in our towns and in our cities and so we will be saying to churches ‘do you know these people and are they welcome in your church?'”
Speaking about the concerns some might have about squeezed resources and policies to limit refugees, Emily Holden commented: “When we look at it, the tragedy is that people’s lives have been caught up in the middle of the politics and those people are just trying to live their lives and have a future for themselves and their families.
“When we look at the Bible and what the Bible says about welcoming refugees it’s rich full of reasons why we should be welcoming the stranger why we should have all the nations represented in our churches and you don’t have to go far in the Bible to see why we should be welcoming people who are outsiders in our communities.”