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Baptists Represented Well at the Refugee Highway Partnership Roundtable



The annual Roundtable conference of the Refugee Highway Partnership in Warsaw, Poland on 22-24 of February once again brought together the community of Christian people emphasising ministry among displaced peoples, including a dedicated group of Baptists. The Roundtable is an opportunity for those involved in refugee ministry to come together for worship, collaboration, shared learning, and mutual support around the joys and challenges of working alongside displaced peoples. As the conference coincided with the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine, an emphasis was placed on supporting Ukrainians, with a time of special prayer for all Ukrainians present. 


Baptists from across the EBF network have been engaged with RHP for years and this year included nearly 30 Baptists representing Austria, Cyprus, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine with BMS World Mission, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, All4Aid, and the Ukrainian Baptist Union having the many representatives. Cesar Sotomayor working in Austria and Haniele Laurindo working with All4Aid in Greece both spoke on main session panels and shared their insights. 


Special this year were the 15 Ukrainians who were able to join, both from Ukraine and those who are scattered around Europe. This group led a breakout session giving an overview of Ukrainian Baptist ministry in the diaspora and shared how missionary pastors are reaching out to displaced Ukrainians and local populations alike through church plants, social projects, and other evangelism efforts. They shared a strong vision for God's using the scattering of the war for opportunities to care for people and share the Good News with them. 


Throughout the weekend, during breakout sessions, special topic discussion times, and the plenary sessions, participants were able to engage in the broad range of challenges and opportunities that come with ministry among refugees from how to care for staff workers to how to engage missionally with refugees to best practices for working with vulnerable populations. The plenary speaker, Usha Reifsnider, the Lausanne Co-Regional Director for Europe preached on reconciliation, raising important questions about the realities of how the Church needs to care for refugees who have come to Christ from non-Christian cultural backgrounds. Western churches are often blind to the sacrificial realities that non-Western Christians face in navigating family relationships and reconciling cultural values with new belief.

She encouraged Western, white Christians to allow their non-Western brothers and sisters to be the iron that sharpens iron, bringing broader and richer understandings of faith and openness to God's work in the world's diversity of cultures. 

The Roundtable is always a time of great fellowship and an opportunity to see the broader picture of God's Church at work across our region for people on the move. Baptists are an integral part of this tapestry and are making a significant impact in the lives of countless displaced people across the EBF region. 

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