After undergoing a mapping exercise during the summer to gain an updated understanding of how Baptists in the EBF region are serving alongside displaced peoples, the EBF Commission on Migration presents the following mapping report. The previous report focused on Baptist responses to the refugee crisis of 2015/2016. This report confirms that 40% of EBF member bodies continue to work with and alongside displaced peoples across the entire EBF region. Hundreds of churches are serving in areas of humanitarian aid, advocacy and asylum support, and integration and discipleship.
“This timely report explores the changing picture of people on the move in the EBF region over the past year,” comments new EBF General Secretary Alan Donaldson. “It highlights the increased desperation of those seeking safe refuge, as well as the significant increase of those who are being forcibly displaced. The many statistics contained within the report paint a developing picture of a creative and growing Baptist response to global migration patterns. I pray that along with the rest of the work of the EBF Commission on Migration, this report will call us afresh to love our neighbours, especially those seeking a place of welcome and safety.”
The report showcases the extended reach of the EBF as diverse populations integrate into their new homes in Europe and the Middle East. Christians from Africa, the far Middle East and Asia enrich EBF member body churches with new perspectives. Additionally, as unions, churches, and ministries reach out with hospitality and unconditional aid, displaced peoples are able to communicate back to their home contexts a fuller picture of what Christianity in Europe looks like.
While it is encouraging to see the wide range of responses from EBF member bodies, the needs are still great. With continuing crises in the Middle East, Central Africa, and Eastern Europe, the number of internally displaced peoples and refugees will only grow. Member bodies are in need of resources, both human and financial, to continue their important work. Yet, despite sparse resources, Baptists in the EBF region have an astoundingly large impact.
The Commission on Migration thanks all those who responded to the survey and all of those who are tirelessly serving alongside displaced peoples. We hope this report will inform, inspire, and spur on EBF member bodies to continue loving the strangers among them and stand up for those in need around the world.
Photo: Used with permission of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD)
Will Cumbia, EBF Coordinator for Migration Issues