Tag Archives: refugee crisis

The Rising Influence of the Church of God on South Sudan

Tim Stevenson preaching under the fig tree.

By Carl Stagner

With continued expansion in northern Uganda, the influence of the Church of God on South Sudan is also on the rise. Though South Sudan achieved independence in 2011 when Africa’s longest civil war ended, tremendous socioeconomic and political struggles persist. Clashes between clans, tribes, political parties, and religions have left behind widespread destruction and hopelessness. It has been reported that over 1.2 million refugees have fled South Sudan for Uganda, the country where Global Strategy missionaries Tim and Colleen Stevenson have worked for thirty-four years. Their work is having a direct impact on South Sudanese refugees as the Church of God establishes “centers” of hope, each noted for its congregation, school, well, and other programs for physical and spiritual health. Continue reading

D.C.-Area Church to Host Fourth Regional Amid Incredible International Impact

Fairfax Community Church baptism celebration.

By Carl Stagner

On September 18 and 19, Fairfax Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia, will host the fourth Church of God Regional Convention of the year. Though they look forward to this opportunity to welcome a cross-section of the Movement to their campus, their day-to-day ministry will not come to a halt. At any given moment, life-giving ministry is made possible somewhere in the world because of this congregation. Their work with refugees at home and abroad, the twenty churches they’ve planted or restarted across the globe, and their bold neighborhood-by-neighborhood reclamation in and around the nation’s capital, are only three of numerous areas of incredible impact. Convention-goers will be inspired to see and hear more of Fairfax’s story in person with their stellar staff, but a recent interview with Pastor Rod Stafford offers the entire Movement a glimpse of just how they give life to their city, state, country, and world. Continue reading

Paris, France: Revolutionary Ministry Celebrates First Anniversary

@home Church’s first anniversary celebration.

By Patrick Nachtigall

When Samir Salibi moved to Paris, France, as a twelve-year-old, non-Christian immigrant from Lebanon, little did he know that one day, two decades later, he would be coming to the rescue of many migrants and displaced people himself. But that is exactly what happened, and on December 2, members of the Three Worlds missionary team of the Church of God in Europe and the Middle East were in Paris to celebrate the first anniversary of this revolutionary new ministry. Continue reading

Refugees Find Community through the Church of God in Germany

Ken & Keli with extended family of John & Rhonda in their home.

Over the last couple years, the Church of God Disaster Relief fund has provided matching funds to the German national church to support strategic refugee initiatives launched by local German congregations in response to the refugee crisis there. At the invitation and hospitality of the German Church of God, Ken and Keli Oldham (Global Strategy) were able to follow up with a few of these ministries this summer. They witnessed the German church developing significant relationships with refugees as they have sought not just to serve their needs, but to include them into their fellowships. Continue reading

Before Disaster Strikes

Photo: Earthquake damage in Ecuador last year.

By Christy Anderson

Homes are lost, illnesses are spreading, and lives are shaken. These are the effects of disaster. When a hurricane strikes or when people are displaced by terrorism, help is always needed. It is easy to collect donations and say thank you, but what happens once those donations are given? Where do they go? What are they used for? In places like Haiti, where hurricanes and earthquakes strike, the funds are used to provide immediate relief and to rebuild homes. While it’s sometimes easy to forget to support Church of God Disaster Relief in relatively “quiet” seasons, the Church of God must be ready to provide relief before disaster strikes. Continue reading

When God’s People Respond to Disaster

Photo: Rebuilding after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

By Christy Anderson

When tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires strike, people want to know how they can help. Individuals try to find ways to contact their loved ones to let them know that they are safe. Others call for more help. When called, the Church of God activates the Disaster Relief Team. This team assesses the situation and sends funds to affected areas as needed. These funds make it possible for on-the-ground teams to provide food, medicine, and other resources where the need is the greatest. As said by Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, “To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.” Continue reading

New Ministry Reaches Refugees in Paris

By Patrick Nachtigall

This February we visited Paris to see the new work that has been established. Our Three World Leadership Network (3WLN) leader, Samir Salibi (Paris Church of God), has launched a new ministry and church called @home. This amazing new ministry is both a community of faith and a network of Christian refugee assistance. The faith community is in the process of becoming an officially recognized church and comprises people deeply committed to doing ministry to the refugees populating Paris, other parts of France, Greece, and elsewhere in Europe. Already they have been actively involved in Greece, which is a significant refugee entry point for Europe. Energetic young people and new converts enjoy being involved in a church that has such an active, missional DNA. Continue reading

Fairfax Church Adopts Syrian Refugee Family

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Photo: The airport welcoming team with the refugee family.

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, a report was released indicating that the total number of displaced persons in the world is higher than it’s ever been. At the end of last year, the refugee agency for the United Nations estimated the figure at more than 65 million people.* Staggering statistics like these suggest to some that finding solutions is a lost cause. But Fairfax Community Church, our Church of God congregation with campuses in Fairfax, Virginia, and Clarksburg, Maryland, determined that something had to be done. Boldly stepping into unknown territory, their missions staff cut through red tape and navigated a myriad of challenges until they got the answers they were looking for. Because of their efforts, Fairfax Community Church now celebrates the “adoption” of a Syrian refugee family. Continue reading

CHOG in Germany, North America Partner in Response to German Refugee Crisis

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With nearly a million refugees slated to seek asylum, Germany is struggling to deal with the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. The country has received more requests for asylum than any other country, and the strain on the country’s social services has been tremendous. Fortunately, the German Church of God (Freikirchlicher Bund der Gemeinde Gottes) has congregations that are mobilizing to assist those in need. However, the scale of this crisis is so great that the Church of God in Germany and the Church of God, through the Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries, have decided to tackle the crisis together. Continue reading

She Longs to be a Refugee

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By Heather Webb

I met a woman while we were in Asia, and her face haunts me. Her mocha skin is scarred with pockmarks, presumably from adolescent acne. Her hair is dark with glints of a few silver strands. She’s earned each one with the heartache and stress her family has endured. Her smile is warm and easy. But her eyes. Her eyes are what I remember most of all. Continue reading

Christ Amid Crisis: Syrian Refugees Loved by ‘People of the Messiah’

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By Carl Stagner

They’re not just “swarms” or “masses” of people. They’re people. They’re individuals. They’re individuals for whom Christ died. One of the most complex issues of our day has hit the Middle Eastern country of Turkey especially hard. The Syrian refugee crisis—as it has been dubbed—offers no simple solutions, no easy answers. While the Church of God strategically prepares a holistic, long-term response, believers in Turkey are busy meeting immediate needs. Known by the refugees as “people of the Messiah,” Christians in the region are boldly loving the “least of these.” Ruth Lyons, Church of God contact on-the-ground (Eurasia Ministries), gives us a closer look. Continue reading

Disaster Relief: Church of God Responds to Syrian Refugee Crisis

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“Where is justice?” “Where is stability?” “What can I do?” The body of the young Syrian boy washed up on the beach this past week and the thousands of refugees attempting to cross into the European Union challenge us and demand our attention, provoking questions. Continue reading