Last week Stephen attended a three-day international conference on the Suffering Church in Exile organised by the World Evangelical Alliance and Barnabas Fund.
Representatives from over 25 mission agencies gave updates on their work among refugees and internally displaced people (IDP). There are now 250 million people on the move, of whom, according to the UNHCR, 64 million are forcibly displaced. Of these, it is believed that around 50% are Christians.
Delegates were told that while the Middle East is home to 5% of the world’s population, it is also at present the focus of 17% of the world’s conflicts. As a consequence 68% of battle related deaths occur in the Arab world; 45% of global terror activities; 57% of refugees and 47% of internally displaced people.
Participants shared challenges, opportunities and strategies to assist Christians living through and fleeing situations of persecution and conflict, as well as ways to resource, equip and mobilise the Church to engage with humanitarian crises in conflict nations.
For further information:
Hope on the Refugee Highway: Christianity Today
UK discriminates against Christian refugees: Independent
Religious Liberty Commission
International Association for Refugees
Photos taken by Stephen of a Syrian refugee camp in the Bekka Valley, Lebanon.