Church of Norway urges refugee welcome by Church and State

By agency reporter
April 23, 2018

The Church of Norway has issued a striking plea to the country’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg to show courage by offering a concrete welcome to refugees to the Scandinavian nation.

“Be brave! Show hospitality in words and deeds. Ensure a decent public policy towards refugees and asylum seekers,” the church urged the prime minister in a 16 April statement from its General Synod.

The church also called on the people of the country, including its own congregations, to show courage by speaking out on behalf of refugees in their local communities and by engaging in the wider public discourse.

“In a suffering world, the answer lies not in distancing ourselves from suffering and building walls. The church cannot accept that!” the Church of Norway’s statement, Welcome the Stranger, added. “Jesus was a refugee. He is a stranger, hungry, thirsty, and displaced. In our time. In our world.”

The statement echoes a broadly based affirmation on refugees titled Welcoming the Stranger, which was published by the United Nations refugee Agency (UNHCR) together with The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and other faith-based organisations in 2013.

That text draws on principles and values of welcome that are deeply rooted in all major religions and is used worldwide to foster support for refugees and other people displaced in their communities.

The Church of Norway and Norwegian Church Aid are key partners with the LWF in its worldwide refugee work.

“Many congregations in Europe and Norway have been practicing neighbourly love and have established safe spaces for refugees and other migrants. Our faith and our lives have been challenged and enriched through these encounters,” the church said, encouraging congregations to “Be the voices and hands of hope! Be courageous, and engage yourselves in local communities and in public discourse!”

“As part of the human family, we have a responsibility for suffering human beings, even when taking action is costly. The church is a movement of hope. The church must be a protest movement against injustice,” the Church of Norway statement concluded.

* Read the statement Welcome the Stranger here

* The 2013 statement, Welcoming the Stranger: affirmations for faith leaders is here

* Lutheran World Federation


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