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Congregations can honor LGBTQ+ forced migrants in June through Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Rainbow Initiative

Episcopal Church Public Affairs Office

Episcopal congregations seeking ways to observe Pride Month and World Refugee Day (June 20) have a special opportunity to focus on LGBTQ+ and refugee communities through Episcopal Migration Ministries’ new Rainbow Initiative.

As of early May, 15 groups in the U.S. and Europe have partnered with EMM as “Rainbow Initiative Congregations/Communities,” committed to learning about and supporting LGBTQ+ forced migrants during the worldwide activities in June focused on those communities.

“We are thrilled at the interest and commitment of those who have already partnered with us, and we invite other churches and communities to consider joining this intentional focus on extending radical welcome to LGBTQ+ forced migrants,” said Sarah Shipman, director of operations for EMM.

Participants work with EMM to discern activities and direction for showing solidarity with LGBTQ+ forced migrants, such as highlighting them in Pride worship services and march activities or on World Refugee Day. Other options include holding fundraisers to benefit programs that provide housing and food, hosting film screenings, and providing lodging for LGBTQ+ forced migrants.

EMM announced The Rainbow Initiative in January, created in response to General Convention Resolution D045.

“We were overwhelmed with the amount of support the resolution received at the time of the online (General Convention) hearings,” said Janet Day-Strehlow, who proposed the resolution as part of the Committee on Social Justice and International Policy. “But even more overwhelming is to see how EMM is putting feet to the resolution by the creation of the Rainbow Initiative, plotting a course for the future, to give not only visibility but tools for our congregations and other groups to work with. I am excited to see where the Rainbow Initiative will go and filled with gratitude to EMM.”

To express interest in becoming a Rainbow Initiative Congregation/Community, email rainbowinitiative@episcopalchurch.org.

Find a list of Rainbow Initiative Congregations/Communities, as well as planned events and activities, on the Rainbow Initiative webpage.

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