The WCC and the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) organized a public hearing last week on migration which was hosted by the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia in Beirut, Lebanon. The hearing is a precursor to a Global Ecumenical Network on Migration meeting held later in the week.
Migration "is a fact of life. It is as much an instinct to survive as it is an inevitable consequence of globalization. We can neither turn our backs on it, nor control it," declared a statement of participants at a 15-16 April Public Hearing on Migration held in Beirut, Lebanon. "Migrants are not commodities, illegal aliens or mere victims, they are human beings."
Around the world, people are leaving their home countries in search of safety, freedom or a better life, the consultation heard. These migration flows are a challenge to churches as migrants bring their own traditions and values into local parishes or create their own religious communities.
At the same time, participants acknowledged, churches need to live up to their mandate to act and speak out in favour of the weak where migrants and refugees are being victimized. These global phenomena and the way they play out in the Middle East were the focus of the hearing.
"Welcoming the stranger is not optional for Christians. Nor is it conditional." said World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary the Rev Samuel Kobia addressing the hearing on Tuesday. The church should strengthen its hospitality in an "era of new forms of migration", whilst being an "advocate and defender of the right of people to move freely within their own nation and leave their home and live elsewhere in search of their God given right to life with dignity," he added.
Read the rest in Ekklesia here.
The full text of the statement by the public hearing on "The Changing Ecclesial Context: Impact of Migration on Living Together" may be found here.
More information on the Global Ecumenical Network on Migration is here.
Middle East Council of Churches web site here.