Event Simulates Trauma of Refugees Forced from Homes

ST. PAUL, MN (June 9, 2010) – Covenant World Relief (CWR) works with partners throughout the world to care for refugees who have been traumatized by the ravages of war and persecution.

Those attending the 125th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church will have an opportunity to experience a bit of what life is like for the people they are assisting through CWR. The denomination’s partner, World Relief International, will present “The Refugee Journey,” during which participants will travel the same life path taken by people forced from their homes.

Participants in the 90-minute event will be assigned the identity of a real refugee and travel the path that person took from the time they were forced from their home. It not only provides an understanding of the life experiences of refugees, but also simulates situations that evoke the appropriate feelings of fear, uncertainty, and loss. Leaders of the journey will adapt the intensity of the event according to who is participating.

What happened to each of the refugees is revealed at the end of the experience.

According to World Relief, “A refugee is a person who must leave his or her homeland because of persecution or fear of persecution (due to) religious beliefs, ethnic background or political activities.” Even if the refugees are able to escape their countries, they often may still face great dangers and certainly upheaval from their ways of life.

More than 70,000 refugees are relocated to the United States every year. The Department of State assigns each of them to one of several voluntary agencies that help them restart their lives. The agencies often work with local churches.

The Refugee Journey will be offered five times during the Annual Meeting:

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday
  • 9:15-10:45 p.m. Thursday
  • 9:15-10:45 p.m. Friday
  • 2:30 – 4 p.m. Saturday (intentionally intergenerational)
  • 5-6:30 p.m. Saturday

Registration is required and can be completed online.

Chrissy Palmerlee of Covenant World Relief says she hopes that congregations will consider hosting The Refugee Journey at their churches.

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