Global Migration Sunday set for First Sunday in Advent, December 3

Zoya Hameed (right), a physician from the United Kingdom, hugs Hanin, a frightened Syrian refugee girl, on a beach near Molyvos, on the Greek island of Lesbos, on October 30, 2015. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

Providing hospitality to migrants is something the prophets called us to do; it’s something Christ called us to do.

Every minute, an average of 20 people worldwide flee their homes because of war, famine and persecution. To prayerfully remember the plight of migrants, Global Migration Sunday has been set for December 3, the first Sunday of Advent. On this date, all United Methodist churches are asked to gather an offering dedicated to responding to human suffering caused by migration.

“The facts are staggering,” said Thomas Kemper, chief executive, General Board of Global Ministries. “There are more than 65.6 million displaced people in the world today, more than at any time since World War II.”

The millions of migrants include children and their families fleeing to escape war and persecution, violence and extortion activities associated with criminal and gang organizations, economic hardship and poverty, forced displacement, and a distrust of local government. In most instances, the journey is treacherous as people traverse continents and the world. Thousands have died while crossing oceans and seas in ill-equipped boats; disease and starvation kill others. Those who make it to a new place are not guaranteed that they can stay and many are turned back.

“In desperation, millions are leaving their homes in an attempt to escape deplorable situations,” said Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops. “Throughout its history, The United Methodist Church has been concerned for migrants. Christ…

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