Posted: 18 Dec 2018 02:55 AM PST
Today, 18 December, is the UN International Migrants Day.
If you are not a migrant but part of a community or society that is receiving migrants, it is a day to think about offering a hand of welcome and friendship.
If you are a migrant yourself, it is a day to think about your experiences of arrival and settling.
For all of us, it is a day to acknowledge and celebrate the richness that migration brings in terms of sharing culture and to give thanks for the welcome and friendship that is extended (whether that is from people arriving or people receiving!).
An example of what receiving communities can do has been the work of our partner churches in Italy through the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI).
In August the FCEI Council approved a statement, a “Welcome Manifesto”, which declares the intention of the church to be a place of welcome and hospitality. The text of this declaration is below.
The FCEI wants people to know that the Church stands for humanitarian protection, respect of human rights and human dignity, supports solidarity between nations and which challenges racism and xenophobia.
The Welcome Manifesto is grounded in scripture and calls for a transformation attitudes and policies with regards to the question of how receiving communities respond to refugees and migrants.
In the last week, new global agreements on how governments respond to refugees and migrants have been adopted. You can read more about the United Nations process around these, which the World Council of Churches and the ACT Alliance have engaged in and helped shape, at https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/
Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI)
This is a church which welcomes…
God comes to us as a stranger: by pushing away those who seek our help we close the door to Jesus who looks for us and reaches out his hand to us.
We declare that faith in Christ commits us to welcoming those who knock at our door in search of help, protection and care.
We affirm that every man, women and child is a creature of God, made in his own image and, therefore, that no one may be discriminated against on the basis of colour, religion or gender identity. Every form of racism is, for us, a theological heresy.
We are called to defend the lives, dignity and rights of migrants, asylum seekers, Roma, ethnic and religious minorities, and all those who are persecuted and marginalised.
The Gospel of Christ tears down ethnic differences and calls us to be a Church which is open to encounter and exchange, in which Italians and immigrants live the Christian faith together.
We value and support those who save the lives of migrants and victims of human trafficking, and those who guarantee humanitarian rescue both in the Mediterranean and in the Alpine passes.
Remembering the words of the apostle: “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have no love, I am but a clanging gong or a sounding cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1), we affirm that the love of God for humanity is stronger than our personal or national self-interest and that we are called to witness to this every day with joy, hope and trust.
This “Welcome Manifesto” was approved on 8th August 2018 by the Council of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI).
This is the second of a series of blogs about creating a welcoming environment. Read the first here.
Image above: On the southernmost tip of the Italian island of Lampedusa, a sculpture of an open door greets the sea. It’s called ‘La Porta d’Europa’ — the door of Europe. Credit: Mediterranean Hope.
The post What would be in a Welcome Manifesto from your church? appeared first on Joint Public Issues Team.
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