A final statement is expected on 20 January 2016 from a conference hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) which assessed the common actions needed to address the refugee crisis.
80 leaders of governments, UN agencies, faith-related and non-religious civil society organisations from countries affected by the current refugee crisis in Europe, Middle East and Africa attended.
The keynote address by the German interior minister underlined the churches’ role in responding to the refugee crisis. ‘Managing the global refugee crisis is not the task of government policy makers alone’, said Dr Thomas de Maizière. ‘The extraordinary political, social and humanitarian challenges raised by the refugee crisis show that government, civil society, business and also churches have a shared responsibility’, he said.
You can read the transcript of Dr Thomas de Maizière’s speech on the WCC website and view his address below:
In a response to the interior minister’s speech, Archbishop Antje Jackelén of the Church of Sweden cautioned against the main message appearing to become the need to control the flow of refugees, saying this could have counter-productive effects on public opinion. You can view her speech below:
You can also view the speeches of Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, and Greek Ambassador to the UN, Alexandros Alexandris, below:
Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and moderator of the CTBI trustees, also addressed the conference speeking on the practical ways in which leaders and organisations can respond to the current situation of refugees in Europe.
‘We as a Church are the largest NGO in the world, although we are much more than just that, we are the Body of Christ. What holds us together is not social convention or international decree. This is a Scriptural directive; a commandment that we live as the Body of Christ, one Body with one Head, and when one part suffers we all suffer, when one part is captive we are all captive’, he said.
‘We need a unified and unifying approach, to work collaboratively and to understand that we have a role and responsibility to act. This is an ideal opportunity for us to prove that we can effectively and collaboratively respond to this situation, and make a real difference’, he concluded.
You can read more of his address on the website of the Media and Communications Office for the Coptic Orthodox Church in Europe and view his whole address below: