Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

As 2024 Refugee Week begins on Sunday, Sacred Scripture reminds us of our responsibility to widows, orphans, strangers, and refugees. Both canons from our Judaic-Christian tradition make this extremely clear. In a world marked by displacement and the search for refuge, this year’s Refugee Week theme, 'Finding Freedom' – with a focus on family – encapsulates the profound journey of resilience, strength, and unity that defines the refugee experience. This Refugee Week, we aim to shed light on the transformative power of familial bonds, as well as chosen bonds, in the face of adversity and emphasise the crucial role families play in providing solace, support, and a sense of belonging to those forced to flee their homelands.

Let us pray in the words of Janet Dickson…

Our Father,
You are in Heaven,
We are your children on earth.
We are your family,
And we cry out to you.
Father, you see your children in warzones and conflicts,
In Ukraine, Gaza, Myanmar,
Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan…
Too many to name, but you see them all.
Father, comfort the terrified, the injured, the orphaned,
The families trying to protect their children. Father, pour out your love.
May they experience your sheltering care.
Our Father, you see your children
In the years after wars, in makeshift camps.
Millions trapped endlessly in the waiting rooms of the world.
Grant hope to the families who have waited for decades.
May parents see a pathway of life for their little ones.
Grant freedom to those who have lost all hope.
Our Father, you see the lonely ones,
The fathers, sons, daughters,
Who find work far away, to support their loved ones.
May their workplaces be safe, may employers be kind.
Pour blessing on their sacrifice,
And reunite their families.
Our Father, you see millions without freedom,
And yet in heaven, there is room for all.
Father, why is it so hard for your children on earth,
To find a place for all?
Why have we not found a way?
Our Father,
Show us how to change our ways,
Our actions, our hearts,
So that it may be on earth,
As it is in heaven.


Janet Dickson is passionate about faith and justice. She has been engaged with refugees and new arrivals in Australia for decades, in the education and settlement sectors. She co-authored Searching for Paradise, the newly released biography of Charles Nombo Lapa, a Papua New Guinean tribal chief, exploring the tensions of faith, colonisation and culture.

Image from refugeeweek.org.au