July 2017 Convocation Newsletter
The Episcopal Church in Europe is helping refugees escaping war and persecution to find new homes in France. The Association d’Entraide aux Minorités d’Orient -- a non-profit organization set up to help the French government identify candidates eligible for asylum -- has helped to resettle more than 2,600, twice the number since this video was first published in June 2013. A.E.M.O., set up in 2007 by Bishop Pierre Whalon and Iraqi businessman Elish Yako, has largely focused on Iraqi Christian refugees. In the past two years it has also helped many Syrian minorities escaping persecution. The association meets the refugees as they enter France and assists them with integration and administrative issues.
As thousands of refugees fleeing conflict started arriving at the train station in Budapest, Hungary, in early summer, Episcopalians Lora Bernabei and her husband Arthur Reynolds knew that as Christians they were called to respond with loving kindness. They gathered apples from their 500-acre farm in southwest Hungary, loaded their car and drove to the capital to start distributing them to the men, women and children who’d walked for weeks to find safety in the arms of their European neighbors. The refugees were exhausted, traumatized and desperately in need of food and water.
A Pastoral Address to the People of God of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe
[Episcopal News Service – Brussels, Belgium] Etched on a sign outside a makeshift refugee camp in north Brussels were the words “Et si c’était toi?” For the Rev. Sunny Hallanan and her parishioners at All Saints Episcopal Church in nearby Waterloo, Belgium, that question – “What if it were you?” – has been a constant reminder that those escaping conflict and persecution need to be treated with compassion and respect rather than suspicion and fear. After a month volunteering at the camp in Maximilien Park, Hallanan got to know many of the refugees. Although she didn’t speak much Arabic and they had yet to grasp basic French, just to sit with the refugees and to share the few words they did know seemed to be enough to form friendships and build trust.