Apr. 2, 2022

Church response to refugees, “I’m seeing the image of God in you”

After a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance visited Hungary, Romania and Ukraine last week, the group came away with reflections on how churches are making a difference in the lives of thousands upon thousands of people fleeing the war.
WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri said she saw a confirmation of what we have been taught before: that churches are usually the first responders to any crisis in the world. “What I’ve also seen is the people are emphasizing the fact that we belong to the same faith, and we are the same people, so they are looking at the Ukrainians as one of them,” she said. “You see people treating the refugees with so much respect.”

As churches help refugees, they give people the impression that they are responding as people of faith. “I’m seeing the Christ in you, the image of God in you, and I treat you with dignity,” said Phiri, who also expressed special concern for black people in Ukraine who are also trying to flee from the war.

“There are many migrants who are not Ukrainians and who need help,” she said.