Appeal Issued by the Christian Churches and the Jewish Community on Refugee Sunday and Refugee Sabbath, June 17 and 18, 2017

“Finally, we’ve found a solution for the refugees!” This promise sounds tempting. Whether we’re shaken, exhausted or just jaded by the daily images and news, we long for a solution for the refugees. What kind of solution? No, neither walls nor open borders, neither neutralized gangs of refugee smugglers nor an all-encompassing rescue of refugees from distress at sea turn out to be “the solution.” And most definitely, there is no end in sight for the causes that drive women, men and children to leave their homes.

It’s almost impossible to imagine how we could get a grip on the “problem.” An end to all the world’s wars is not in sight; it seems to be suspended indefinitely. But don’t we also have reason to hope? Isn’t it our duty to look at the tension between present and future with awareness, to endure it and to bring our own voices to bear in this conflicted area?

Let’s dare to change our perspective! What if we let ourselves be encouraged by the refugees to not shrink away from this tension, to not delegate it to the political parties? What if, when looking at a refugee, I didn’t see a problem for our society, but a child of God? What if we managed to “un-scare” ourselves by striving for trust and confidence? What if I make room for small, specific actions, e.g. by approaching one stranger every week without any preconceived notions?

Where many small steps such as these occur, where we deliberately endure tension, where we practice human awareness instead of turning a blind eye, we come one step closer to God.

Gottfried Wilhelm Locher, Council President, Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC)

Bishop Charles Morerod, President, Swiss Bishops’ Conference (SBK)

Bishop Dr. Harald Rein, Christ-Catholic Church of Switzerland (CKS)

Dr. Herbert Winter, President, Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG)

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