Saturday, September 26, 2015

Lutherans to provide help for persecuted Christians, refugees | LCMS News & Information

Lutherans to provide help for persecuted Christians, refugees

on September 21, 2015 in News, Reporter, Top Story 8

By Roger Drinnon

Ongoing violence in the Middle East has led to a mass exodus of refugees — an estimated 4 million people have been forced to leave their homes in Syria alone. Others have fled Iran, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries due to persecution by militant groups like the Islamic State.

More than half of those fleeing the Middle East are children, according to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

The most recent news headlines report hundreds of thousands of people — mostly from the Middle East and Africa — streaming into Europe. A large portion of these asylum-seekers look for sanctuary in European countries like Germany. As Germany readies for as many as 800,000 more refugees in the coming year, the Selbst√§ndige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche (SELK), an LCMS partner church, is preparing to respond, not only by providing for the immediate physical needs of the refugees but also by providing for their spiritual care through the Gospel.  As they do, the LCMS will be walking alongside them.

Mercy and a new mission field

The SELK already has been caring for refugees for some time now, and one of its congregations recently garnered international media attention for its ministry of mercy.

“We have about 860 members; more than 600 of them are former Muslimsbwho have become Christians during the last [few] years,” said the Rev.Dr. Gottfried Martens, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church inbBerlin-Steglitz. “About 100 more people from Iran and Afghanistan are in the process of preparation in order to receive Holy Baptism during the next couple of months.”

In response to media reports mentioning refugees converting to Christianity to improve chances of being granted asylum, Martens said...

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Lutherans to provide help for persecuted Christians, refugees | LCMS News & Information

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