Thursday, 16 June 2011

In Memory of Those Who Have Died at the Borders of the EU

Refugee boats in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. Sculpture by Kalliopi Lemos
20 - 26 June 2011 is Refugee Week and this site offers a large amount of information backed by an impressive group of 12 refugee agencies.  Whilst the material on this site might be used to inform liturgies and prayer gropups during the week, it dioes not include, as far as I can see, any material designed for use in Christian worship.

I have however found some on the Conference of European Churches website.  Simply click on this link to download a resource guide, Day of intercession in memory of those who have died at the borders of the EU .  This has been put together by The Commissioner for migration and integration of the Evangelical.Church in Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Oberlausitz, German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum, EKD Church Office, CCME - Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum.  Some of these sites are in German but the link is to an English version of the report.

Here are some extracts from the introduction to the paper:

In July 2009 the Conference of European Churches declared in Lyon: “As churches in Europe we commit ourselves: to remember those who have died on their journey to find a dignified life in Europe, through an annual day of prayer.” Churches and human rights groups in several European countries will commemorate together on the same day, 26 June 2011, the lethal consequences of the sealing off of the external borders of the EU. Such sealing off takes place through highly perfected technical border protection, through the displacement of border protection measures to neighbouring and transit states of the EU, and through legal agreements with neighbouring and transit states on refugee return, even if this violates human rights.

Churches will remember in prayer the nameless dead who frequently disappear without trace in the sea or in the desert. Their lament, which went unheard by human beings, will be brought before God. What takes place at the borders - far from public scrutiny and control – will be brought to public awareness. Background reports will provide information about the situation of human rights at the borders. Politicians will be reminded of their responsibility to take at long last effective measures to protect human beings and human rights.

The paper includes:
  • Ideas for worship
  • Proposal for a prayer of intercession for those who have died at the borders of the European Union
  • Proposal for a prayer of intercession for those who assist
  • Instead of a sermon: personal testimonies
  • What we can do
  • A summary for newsletters
  • Further information and resources

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