Refugees in Crisis: Where Is the Church?

An ADRA International & Adventist Peace Fellowship Presentation

More than 82 million forcibly displaced people currently wander the world. Among them are 26 million refugees—from Ukraine and Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela, Myanmar and Somalia, Iraq, South Sudan, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Chad, Haiti, to name only a few—and about half are children under the age of 18. Where is the Adventist Church during this overwhelming disaster?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11811

One of the first decisions by TW after Atlanta was to kneecap ADRA.

One of TW’s more recent decisions was to distribute 1,000,000,000 copies of The Great Controvesy.

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There are 4 Ukrainian SDA churches in the United States. 2 are branded as Russian/Ukrainian.
There are 12 Russian SDA churches in the United States, not including the 2 branded as Russian/Ukrainian. All of these churches not branded as Russian/Ukrainian should probably be rebranded as such to be more inclusive.

Any SDA church in the United States that embraces a refugee/immigrant ministry can easily double in size in about one to two years. But most of our churches are not interested in evangelism or, more generally, doing anything for people. In addition, there are some SDAs who are disciples of Donald Trump, the leading exponent of the Neo-Nazi idea known as Great Replacement Theory. This Theory is fast becoming Republican Party orthodoxy and has been urged by fringe SDAs online. A refugee/immigrant ministry will not be successful if there are a few bad apples in the congregation who for political reasons resent refugees and immigrants.

This virtual townhall and World Refugee Sabbath is very exciting.

All Christians and health professionals should speak out about the ongoing atrocities in Ukraine. It is our responsibility individually and collectively to make a difference. We cannot turn a blind eye. We cannot stick our heads in the sand. We cannot just shrug our shoulders.

.Research tells us that children’s direct exposure to the trauma of war leads to internalizing psychiatric disorders, such as major depression, PTSD, panic attacks, separation anxiety, and more. After 9/11, for example, 15% of New York City school children surveyed developed symptoms of agoraphobia, 12% developed separation anxiety, 10% developed generalized anxiety disorder, and 9% developed panic attacks. Externalizing psychiatric disorders, such as substance abuse and oppositional defiant disorder, are also seen in children who are directly exposed to war. We know that war can ruin the lives of children.

Parents will be injured or killed. Families will be torn apart. Schools and health care facilities will be decimated. Hundreds of thousands of refugees will be fleeing to nearby countries. Children’s natural support systems—parents, extended family members, friends, schools, churches — will be destroyed. The result will be scared, lonely, confused children whose lives will be changed negatively forever.

All civilized countries in the world must band together to stop this war as quickly as possible for the sake of the Ukrainian children. Their safety and preservation must be a top priority. A protracted war for purely political and expansionist reasons is anti-human and anti-children in its essence. And the most vulnerable group of all — children — will pay the highest psychological price.

The faster this war stops, the quicker these children and their families can resume some semblance of their pre-war lives. With each passing day, more and more of the children will be put in harm’s way and the life-changing consequences of their trauma will be unavoidable.

I guess he never read Ezekiel. The inhospitable, which would include many of us, will be looked upon, as worse, in the sight of God than the inhabitants of Sodom. It’s going to be a warm finish.

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