Refugee Prayer Service Materials

In early 2016, when many in the UK were moved by the news of increased numbers of people fleeing to Europe, Reverend Ben Kautzer, at St Nicolas Church, Earley, prepared a Service of Prayer and Holy Communion for Refugees entitled “Into Deep and Turbulent Waters”. It included a eucharistic liturgy, Bible readings, prayers and four prayer stations relating to the refugees’ journey. The evening proved to be a powerful way of engaging the congregation with the topic of refugees and forced migration.

Whilst some things have changed in the refugee situation since then, the issues facing refugees remain. Worldwide there continue to be millions who flee their homes and undertake perilous journeys in search of refuge, including in Europe. It is as important as ever for Christians to heed the call to prayer and action for refugees.

We are sharing these materials with Ben’s permission, to make it easy for you to hold a similar service, or time of reflection, in your church. With the original resources, we are showing how two different events used them in particular contexts. If you do use Ben’s materials, please do give him credit.

Materials prepared by the Reverend Ben Kautzer

The full order of service:  St Nicolas – Refugee Service Liturgy v2 (17.03.16)

Title posters for each of the four prayer stations: Displacement, Escape, Refuge, Peace

Prayer instructions and other materials placed at each prayer station:

Escape – This prayer station was built around a real rubber dinghy, as a striking reminder of the way many refugees have tried to cross the Mediterranean

Escape – Prayer Instructions

Escape – Definitions

Escape – Poem Fragment

Displacement – This prayer station’s focus was an installation of a refugee camp, made of hundreds of folded card tents, some with LED tea lights underneath – see photo and tent templates below

Displacement – Prayer Instructions

Displacement Refugee Installation – Tent 1

Displacement Refugee Installation – Tent 2

Displacement Refugee Installation – Healing

Displacement – Only a Fraction of Refugees Make It to Europe

Displacement – Jeremiah 8.15

Refuge – This prayer station focused on finding refuge in Europe and organisations helping refugees locally

Refuge – Prayer Instructions

Refuge – Searching for a Home Prayer

Reading Refugee Support Group – Fact Sheet

Reading Refugee Support Group – Poster

Peace – This prayer station used a world map to remember refugees’ countries of origin and plasters as symbols of healing

Peace – Prayer Instructions

Peace – A Prayer for Hope (Christian Aid)

Peace – A Prayer Inspired by Psalm 130

Peace – How long oh Lord

Additional materials, which could be included in the service:

Tearfund – The Bravery of the Syrian Church

Bishops’ Letter to David Cameron

Pope Francis message 2015

Examples of how others have adapted these resources

Didcot Baptist

We had an evening prayer service with a focus on refugees at Didcot Baptist Church on 2nd December 2018:

  • At the start of the service the following slides, clarifying definitions and statistics, were shown: Intro slides – DBC refugee focus prayer service 02.12.18.
  • To highlight that refugees are individuals with their own stories and to encourage empathy, a short extract (the first 3 minutes 53 seconds) of the Jesuit Refugee Service video was shown.
  • Each prayer station consisted of a screen/board with a table and a few chairs in front. The prayer instructions and materials for each were slightly adapted, including incorporating words relating to the refugee experience at each stage Words for each prayer station.
  • For the “Escape” station, having neither enough space nor a dinghy, we instead used photos of refugees fleeing by boat and on foot.
  • The “Displacement” model refugee camp was made from just 20 tents, each with a word on, accompanied by photos of the Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan.
  • We added a 5th prayer station “Healing” with a wooden cross and candle – Healing – DBC Prayer Instructions.
  • The “Refuge and Resettlement” prayer station included the names, logos and brief descriptions of Oxford-based organisations supporting refugees and CCOW’s guide What can I do to support refugees – Info for churches – Oxford-updated Feb 2019
  • The “Peace” prayer station highlighted the top five countries of origin of refugees in the world today Top five countries of origin – World Vision and people could add to the map a prayer or the name of a country on their heart, using sticky notes.

CCOW Time for Prayer and Reflection

CCOW offered a morning for prayer and reflection using Ben Kautzer’s four prayer stations and an additional one, ‘Hostility’. A group of about 15 people took part in opening worship, and then made a pilgrimage around the stations. As we reached each prayer station, we listened to stories and readings relating to the station’s theme; after people spent time at each prayer station, there was an opportunity to share reflections and pray. We ended with closing prayers, gathered once again around the ‘Escape’ station. The whole took a little over 2 hours – and was followed by a simple shared lunch. Additional materials prepared by CCOW are below.

Opening Worship

‘Hostility’ Prayer Station – Instructions

Additional Materials for Prayer Stations

Reflections at Prayer Stations

Closing Prayers


Joanna Schüder, CCOW’s Churches Refugee Networking Officer, would be very happy to discuss how you might use these materials in your context. She can share photos and further information about the prayer stations at Didcot Baptist Church and help you access other resources –   07552 948688

One Small Step – Barry’s Story

As Christians, we know we’re called to live in ways that show love of God and neighbour. But how do we make changes to live this call out in practical ways in our daily life?

For many of us, practical changes often take place because we’re inspired by someone else – seeing them doing something or acting in a certain way.

CCOW’s ‘One Small Step’ series shares stories of change — the small steps individuals have taken to live more in keeping with their faith – to help inspire and encourage all of us on our journeys.

In this ‘One Small Step’, Barry shares his story which starts with some plastic bottles by the side of the road …

Download Barry’s Story here.

Time for Creation Postcard

A beautiful postcard that you can use as an invitation to your Time for Creation/Creation Time/Season of Creation services … or just to encourage people to remember to take time to thank God for creation!  To request copies, email us.




Fair Trade Prayers and Reflections from CCOW

Are you looking for Fair Trade prayers and reflections for a church service or for personal prayer? Materials for Prayer and Reflection on Fair Trade offers the materials we’ve provided for Fairtrade Fortnight Church Action Guides and other resources over the years.

Download the resource

Praying for the DRC and South Sudan

This page was originally created when Pope Francis called all Christians and people of good will to pray and fast for peace for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and for South Sudan on Friday, 23rd February. His call was welcomed by the Anglican Communion and others. To help people participate, we collected some prayer resources, which you can download below.

These prayer resources are, on the whole, not specific to the Day of Prayer but can help us to pray for peace in these countries in an ongoing way. Please do use them at any time which is appropriate for you and your church.


Image: South Sudan, UN Photo/JC McIlwaine, 23 August 2014, Bentiu, South Sudan under Creative Commons License.

Lent Lectionary Notes

Welcome to one of CCOW’s resources for Lent: our Linked Lectionary Notes, which are based on the principal Sunday readings from the Revised Common Lectionary for Year B. These were created in 2018, but are still pertinent in 2024.

For each Sunday in Lent we explore some of the ideas and themes in the set readings (column 3) and then reflect on them, linking them to a contemporary global issue (column 4). The idea is to help people connect the Bible with today’s world – looking at each through the lens of the other.

The resource is aimed at anyone who will be interacting with the passages each week – primarily preachers, but also those leading the intercessions, or even putting together the pew sheet. It’s also offered as a resource for personal reflection and could be used in a small group setting. The notes are not a finished sermon – rather they raise questions and offer thoughts.

These notes are a revival of a resource called Development Matters, which Elizabeth put together for Bath and Wells Diocese for over a decade. (Some of these notes have also featured in the Fairtrade Foundation’s Church Action Guides for Fairtrade Fortnight). Two quotes particularly inspired this endeavour:

‘I simply argue that the cross be raised at the centre of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves, on a town garbage dump…at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. That is where he died, and that is what he died about, and that is where Christ’s people ought to be, and what church people ought to be about.’
George Macleod, founder of the Iona Community.

‘In a Jesus society, you repent, not by feeling bad, but by thinking different’.
Mennonite author Rudy Wiebe in The Blue Mountains of China.

Voices from the Front Lines of Climate Change: Tagolyn Kabekabe

What does climate change look like from the perspective of someone living and working in a small island state in the Pacific? Tagolyn Kabekabe is the Pacific Coordinator for the Anglican Alliance, an agency that works on development and relief. She spoke to Elizabeth Perry about the challenges people in her region are currently facing as a result of climate change.

Her comments bring home the disproportionate impact some people are feeling from global phenomena: “So when we talk about the impacts of rising sea levels it affects everybody,” she notes, “but it is worse for the low-lying islands, because we’ve had incidences like a few years ago when we had a spring tide that actually washed through the islands and it washes everything with it… the chickens, the pigs, it washes through the kitchen taking the pots, the pans, everything into the sea.”

Download the full interview here.

One Small Step – Diana’s Story

As Christians, we know we’re called to live in ways that show love of God and neighbour. But how do we make changes to live this call out in practical ways in our daily life?

For many of us, practical changes often take place because we’re inspired by someone else – seeing them doing something or acting in a certain way.

CCOW’s ‘One Small Step’ series shares stories of change — the small steps individuals have taken to live more in keeping with their faith – to help inspire and encourage all of us on our journeys.

In this story, Diana, a Reader from Lichfield, shares her story, which starts with a coffee cup …

Download Diana’s Story here.

Charles Scribner: Riverkeeper

This edition of our “Why I care about the environment” series is by Charles Scribner, an Anglican living in Birmingham (Alabama, not England).

Charles is a member of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, which he represents on the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama’s Task Force for the Stewardship of Creation. Charles is also executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving water quality, habitat, recreation, and public health throughout the Black Warrior River watershed.

In this piece, he reflects on his Christian faith and how it informs his care for creation: Charles Scribner Why I Care

This piece is one of a series entitled ‘Why I care about….’ in which Christian experts write about what motivates them to care about their particular area of concern, and how their Christian faith informs that passion. We hope that these deliberately short essays will be used for personal reflection, small group discussion, reproduced in church magazines and used in church services. Please feel free to share them with your friends, colleagues and congregations; we simply ask that you quote and attribute them fully. If you want to reprint this reflection and would find a Word version helpful, please email us. 

Canticle of the Creatures Poster

This A3 poster combines the words of St Francis of Assisi’s famous ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ with photographs by Elizabeth Perry. It’s ideal for personal meditation or to have up in a prayer section of your church.

Copies are available from us in return for a donation to cover the costs of production, postage and packing.