Global Conference against Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration in Rome September 18-20, 2018
“All human beings are equal in dignity and rights and equally to be respected and protected.”
This is part of the message adopted by the participants of the Conference “Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration” in Rome September 18-20, 2018. The Conference was organized jointly by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (Vatican City) and the World Council of Churches (Geneva) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Vatican City).
Fiona Kendall from Scotland, a Mission Partner of the Methodist Church in Britain working with “Mediterranean Hope” in Italy was not only attending the Conference, but also one of the speakers. Together with Luca Maria Negro she explained how the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy is responding to the needs of migrants and refugees f.e. in the House of Cultures in Scicli, the work in Lampedusa and the safe passage for asylum seekers with special needs through humanitarian visas to Italy.
The Methodists in Italy are actively participating in the work of “Mediterranean Hope”. They have received the 2018 World Methodist Council Peace Award in honor for their work. In her report about the Conference “Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration” Fiona Kendall shared reflections on the unique role of Christian Churches: “We don’t just preach tolerance but love, which has no end. As Christians, we have an opportunity to show our faith in practice by seeing the face of Christ in the other, by loving and by offering welcome. Churches could be proactively creating social cohesion by talking to people at a local level and promoting ubuntu (togetherness).”
The conference concluded with an audience with Pope Francis in the Sala Clementina in the Palazzo Apostolico at the Vatican. Pope Francis expressed the desire that the meeting give rise to many more collaborative initiatives, so that Christians may together construct a society which is more just and which expresses solidarity.
The World Methodist Council has indicated at its meeting in Houston, Texas, USA in 2016 that “migration” and “combating racism” shall be foci in its work in this quinquennium. We are called to continued efforts to overcome xenophobia, racism and populist nationalism and to promote a culture of encounter and dialogue, recognizing God in the faces of migrants, as it has been recommended in the message of the Conference (see: www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/message-from-the-conference-xenophobia-racism-and-populist-nationalism-in-the-context-of-global-migration-19-september-2018/ ).
Received from Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Geneva Secretary