Concluding the Series on Immigration

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Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been talking about immigration and the CRC. In case you missed them, here are the previous posts:A theological basisCharity vs justiceReal stories 

Now that we know the theory, what does this look like in practice? How do we take action on immigration?

First, pray for discernment in understanding this complex issue and knowing what steps are right for your particular place. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, take action! To start, you can make a public commitment to show God’s love and hospitality to immigrants by signing this online immigration pledge. Check the list to see how well-represented your church is, and start asking questions if you don’t see your fellow church members listed.

Learn more about the issues. The CRC has an immigration resource page with information on debunking common myths, illustrations of the immigration system, and helpful answers to challenging questions.

Get trained as a Church Between Bordersfacilitator or host the workshops at your church. The curriculum uses participatory peacebuilding and education tools to help participants gain a better understanding of immigration and become better equipped to welcome the stranger in their midst. Sign up to facilitate or to host Church Between Borders.

What can you do in your church?

Pray together with members of your congregation for immigrants in your community and the challenges they face. Use these prayers in Sunday worship services.

Meet your neighbors, particularly immigrant neighbors, both around your own home and around your church. Build strong relationships through meals and life together. Share your story, listen to theirs, and see what happens.

Plan activities that could involve members of your congregation who want to participate in some sort of direct service, even if they don’t know much about immigration. Some of these events might have the potential to grow into thriving ministries.

Organize a “Know Your Neighbor Sunday” or “Immigrant Sunday.” Show a video of an immigrant and his/her story, or invite someone you know to speak about their own immigration journey. Include multicultural songs and elements in your service. Host a panel of speakers after church who can lead a discussion on immigration in your community. Contact the CRC Office of Social Justice for video or speaker suggestions.

Host English classes in your church space. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes can be hard to find and provide a great opportunity to teach a valuable skill while creating relationships across cultural divides.

Help immigrants prepare for citizenship tests. Meet with immigrants on a regular basis as they prepare for their written and oral exams.

Use connections within your church community to start a job training and employment network for immigrants seeking employment.

Start a partnership with an immigrant church by inviting their pastor to speak to your congregation. Host a joint potluck after your church services.

For experiential learning, consider booking a trip through Border Links, which sets up immersion tours to border communities to study the issues of migration from a Christian perspective. For more information, visit www.borderlinks.org

Form a committee with fellow workshop group members or other people interested in exploring immigrant issues from a biblical perspective.

Host a house party to teach your friends and neighbors about immigration and to give them a way to get involved. For more information and a kit to get you started, go to http://www.crcna.org/pages/osj_houseparties.cfm.

Start a letter-writing campaign as a church to your elected officials, letting them know you support immigrant communities and believe in welcoming and compassionate immigration policies. Contact [email protected]to learn more.

Brainstorm ways to challenge your congregation to think about the issue of immigration theologically rather than politically.

Learn about the legal system firsthand. Invite a lawyer or immigrant rights advocate to speak to your congregation about the realities of the current system and the difficulties facing undocumented immigrants.

And whatever you do, please tell usabout what you or your church are doing! Nothing gets us more excited than Christians turning beliefs into actions. Share with us your struggles and successes, and let us journey with you. Email the Office of Social Justice at [email protected].

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