Refugee Week (14th – 20th June) is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. It was founded in 1998 and has been held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. The vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.
Refugee week is usually celebrated through programmes of arts, cultural, sports and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns. It enables people from different backgrounds to connect beyond labels, as well as encouraging understanding of why people are displaced, and the challenges they face when seeking safety.
Refugee Sunday, part of Refugee Week (20th June) is a special day the Church has dedicated to refugees and asylum seekers. Refugee Sunday was founded by the Refugee Highway Partnership in cooperation with the World Evangelical Alliance more than 10years ago to raise awareness of and pray for the situation of refugees and internally displaced peoples around the world.
Welcome Churches have created a film to share with churches on Refugee Sunday and Father’s Day, which coincidentally are on the same day this year. The film is titled ‘Together One Day” which explores the story of Asghar, a father who is a refugee and has been separated from his children for over a year now. You can sign up here to receive the film or wait until it’s live on 20th June. We are hosting an exciting event “Refugees, Jesus and Justice” discussing what Jesus and the Bible have to say about justice for refugees in the UK today on Wednesday 16th June from 8-9:30pm. Book your ticket today!
Here are some of the activities you can do to celebrate Refugee Week 2021
Your church can hold a special prayer service to pray for refugees and asylum seekers, particularly in the area of Justice. The recent New Plan for Immigration proposed by the UK government has raised a lot of concerns about how inhumane some of the proposed plans are.
Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
- Educate yourself by reading a book or watching a film that explores the everyday stories of refugees and asylum seekers.
Book recommendation – City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence
“City of Thorns is a collection of real stories of 9 refugees and their families in Dadaab Camp in Kenya, which was until 2017 the biggest refugee camp in the world. The book does not merely depict refugees’ journey, everyday struggle and experiences. It actually goes beyond that to prove a different point, that refugees’ lives are not always “a journey” like it is usually believed. They are actually most of the time in a constant state of limbo, a period of life where time stops and waiting becomes the core activity of one’s day, month and even years.”
Film recommendation: Adu (2020) by Salvador Calvo on Netflix
Adu explores the travails of an astonishing young boy (Adu) as he makes a life-threatening journey throughout Africa alongside his older sister. The two siblings who attempt to fit themselves in the hold of a plane to escape from Cameroon to Spain so that they can seek refuge with their father after their mother is murdered by poachers.Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9616700/
- Plan out a summer activity with your neighbours.
Now that Covid-19 restrictions have eased and we are pretty much allowed to meet others outside. The weather is great and I think this is the perfect time to have a BBQ with your refugee and asylum seeking neighbours.
Alternatively you could explore the outdoors and go out for a hike and have a picnic.
We hope you have a wonderful time celebrating refugees and asylum seekers during Refugee Week 2021 and beyond! Let’s remember to welcome, embrace and love our neighbours.