In celebration of World Refugee Sabbath on June 18, 2022, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), in collaboration with the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the North American Division (NAD) departments of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty and Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries, will be launching a yearlong letter-writing campaign.
The campaign, addressed to United States members of Congress and other government leaders, seeks to promote refugee policies and practices that are free of racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination, ADRA leaders said.
“This is the first time the three church entities have partnered in an online advocacy campaign that will encourage Adventists to send letters to members of Congress and the President, using our website, Facebook, and links in emails in support of refugees to their elected representatives,” they said. “In addition, this campaign will be replicated across all [world church] divisions during the year.”
According to ADRA director of advocacy Herma Percy, the United Nations has just announced that more than 100 million people are forcibly displaced right now, and the global number of refugees is at its highest level ever recorded.
“ADRA International, our non-governmental organization, works in many of the countries most affected by refugee-creating conflicts, including Syria, Myanmar, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Ukraine,” Percy said. “The violence and persecution that these vulnerable men, women, and children are fleeing are almost unimaginable. As one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful nations, [the U.S. has] both the opportunity and the responsibility to respond.”
Percy also explained that in the Bible, the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 “reminds us that as followers of Jesus, we are called to respond to those who are vulnerable or in need of help. We are to love our neighbors — not only those near us or like us, but anyone who is in need.
“If I believe that every human being, no matter who they are, is my neighbor, then that must include the refugee fleeing conflict in Ukraine and the refugee fleeing conflict in Syria, in Afghanistan, and in Myanmar,” she added. “Just as the Samaritan man was willing to cross political, cultural, and social barriers to meet his neighbor’s needs, so too are we called to show mercy on others who may be different to us. Jesus says to ‘go and do likewise.’ ”
ADRA leaders explained that those interested in participating in the letter-writing campaign and finding other resources for churches and individual members to get involved on this special day can visit the World Refugee Sabbath site or email [email protected].