We are honored to share these words from our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, on the occasion of Pride Month and World Refugee Day (June 20). This was originally published by The Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs on June 14, 2023.
“In recognition of World Refugee Day and Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Rainbow Initiative to support LGBTQ+ forced migrants, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry shared the following message:
Hello, I’m Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. June the 20th, as you may well know, is World Refugee Day. In thinking about that, I was particularly mindful this year of the passage found in the 25th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. It’s where Jesus tells a parable, a story of judgment day, sometimes called the parable of the last judgment or the parable of the sheep and the goats.
When the Bible talks about judgment day in these kinds of context, it’s really trying to get us to grasp what really matters, what is important to God. And in this parable, Jesus says all the nations and peoples of the earth are assembled before the king on judgment day. To those who have clothed those who were naked, fed those who were hungry, welcomed those who were strangers, visited those in prison or in hospital or alone, he says, enter into the joys of the kingdom. Enter into the joys of heaven.
But the righteous ones who are welcomed into heaven respond in the parable by saying, well, wait a minute, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or naked and clothe you, or alone and visited you? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you?
And Jesus says, when you did it to the least of these who are members of my family, you have done it unto me, the human family, the human family of God. And when we care for one another, respond to one another’s needs, do what is just and kind and merciful and loving, we have done it unto God, God’s self.
In the month of June and on June the 20th, we observe World Refugee Day, a day to remind us and to encourage us and for us to rededicate ourselves to the task of welcoming the stranger: those who are refugees fleeing persecution, those who are fleeing famine and natural disaster, those who are fleeing war, those who have lost their homes and everything that they know and simply want to breathe free.
This year, we are also mindful that LGBTQ people in many countries are in additional danger. They are often threatened because of who they are, persecuted, and fleeing persecution.
The Episcopal Church has made a commitment through Episcopal Migration Ministries to do what we can for all refugees that we can help. But in particular, for those LGBTQ forced migrants who simply, like the rest of us, just want to live in love and peace, as the Bible says, with everyone sitting under their own vine or fig tree.
The Rainbow Initiative is an initiative of Episcopal Migration Ministries, particularly to reach out to people in that situation. That’s an additional commitment to our basic commitment to assist all refugees. And we do this work committed to the one named Jesus, who himself, with Mary and Joseph, was once a refugee.
As people helped the Holy Family to flee persecution, to find safety, so may we this year on World Refugee Day recommit our efforts and our commitments to do all that we can to welcome the stranger. Whereas you did it to the least of these who are members of my family, says Jesus, you have done it unto me.
God love you. God bless you. And may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.