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 lost their lives in the Mediterranean, seeking safety on their way to Europe.
CEC and CCME are encouraging churches to hold online commemoration services, prayers or vigils around World Refugee Day on 20 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, available in English and German.
“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 sister on the outer borders of the European Union,” reads a joint letter issued to the European churches by CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen and CMME General Secretary Dr Torsten Moritz.
“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,” reads the letter.
The invitation affirms a call from CEC 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.” In past years, many churches and parishes across Europe have taken up this call, holding commemoration events, bringing into light the situation of refugees.
This call to the churches is made in a context, where tragedies in the Mediterranean are on the rise, according to international media reports. Thousands have lost their lives on their way to Europe, drowning at sea or in rivers, suffocated in containers on trucks or ships.