Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) will be hosting a summit in Washington, D.C., that will feature firsthand stories of persecution while educating and informing leaders on ways to create partnerships that can bring about change to those suffering around the world.
Thousands of Christians are killed every year and millions face other forms of brutal persecution simply because of their faith.
According to BGEA, Christians are now the most persecuted religious group in the world. Open Doors identified 2016 as the worst year for the persecution of Christians since it began tracking the issue 25 years ago, and they report about 215 million Christians experience “high, very high or extreme persecution” in the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
To help raise global awareness about the plight of persecuted Christians and to show solidarity with those who suffer because of their faith, BGEA will host the first-ever World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians. The conference will be held May 10 to 13 in Washington, and will bring together more than 600 participants from 130 countries.
“It seems that every week we learn of yet another example from somewhere around the globe that shows how critically we need to have this World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians,” said Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. “We want this event to shed a global spotlight on this crisis and help reverse this alarming trend.”
Graham says the summit will provide a platform for firsthand stories of persecution to be heard, collected and documented. The summit’s goals also include connecting victims, advocates, leaders and influencers to create partnerships that can help bring about change—while encouraging and praying for those who have faced beatings, torture, imprisonment, rape and even death because of their Christian faith.
“We need to stand with Christians around the world. It’s important to educate the American public and Washington about what is happening and how we can work with the United Nations and other government bodies to ensure that religious freedoms are protected,” said Graham.