After posting earlier on the importance of ministry with immigrants and with the many migrants from rural countrysides around the world to cities and megacities, I was struck by news from the Anglican Communion News Service that “Migrants and refugees were identified as the key priority in the battle against poverty and injustice in Asia at the regional Anglican Alliance consultation that closed in Hong Kong recently.”
The weeklong consultation included Bp. Humphrey Peters of the Diocese of Peshawar, location of Edwardes College where I am principal, and brought together participants from Hong Kong, India, Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, in addition to Pakistan and representatives of various Anglican mission and development agencies. Asia participants decided on a programme of regional advocacy focusing on migrants and refugees, peace and reconciliation and a campaign against human trafficking.
My comments were spurred by two facts highlighted by HSBC, the global banking corporation:
• Every day 200,000 people leave the countryside for the city. – Missional comment: In addition to highlighting urbanization, this statistic brings to mind the dreadful physical and economic conditions in which many migrants live for years, making them vulnerable not only to political exploitation but to such plagues as the drug trade and human trafficking.
• Over 138 million people work outside their country of birth. – Missional comment: This is obviously relevant for the priority placed on ministry with immigrants in various countries, and for the ministry that people in a home country may offer to those who have emigrated elsewhere, as in, for instance, the Church of South India’s congregations in North America.