European Church leaders rally Christmas support for refugees and migrants

Euro church leadersUnited Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly Moderators, Derek Estill and the Revd Nigel Uden, have joined European Church leaders in affirming the values of dignity, respect and compassion for refugees and migrants.

On 4 December, a Christmas statement, signed by more than 30 Church leaders from Europe, was jointly issued by the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC).

On the same day, it was presented to Mairead McGuinness, First Vice-President of the European Parliament in Brussels.

In the statement, the Church leaders said: ‘In the spirit of Christmas, we ask you to work and pray for a welcoming and inclusive community in Europe.

‘As Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, they wait in hope and anticipation, remembering Isaiah’s prophecy: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9.2)

‘We call on the nations and the people of Europe, on the political leaders and on our Churches: Don’t allow us to become indifferent to the suffering of others.

‘Let us rather cherish the dignity of those who need our help and recognise that welcoming the stranger is part of our Christian and European heritage.

‘May we be courageous and confident in the Son of God, the Light of the World, whose birth we celebrate.

‘Christ will show us the way for a future life together.’

The statement’s signatories come from diverse Church traditions across Europe, including Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and African-Instituted.

Speaking after the handover ceremony, pictured above, Ms McGuiness commented: ‘This statement is timely, challenging and is really worth reading. It calls upon all of us who have strong shoulders to bear greater weight than those who have less strong shoulders. It reminds us that everyone has a responsibility and that we need to care ... If we don’t care at Christmas time then what is the best time to care for those less fortunate?’

Read the statement in full and the list of signatories here.