Refugee Services, Immigration and How We are Called to Welcome the Stranger

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By: 
Wendy Johnson

I recently received a newsletter from Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) that included the following story:

It’s a common narrative associated with refugee resettlement: New Americans come to our country fleeing oppression and give thanks for the opportunity and freedom found here. But in a season of thanks, a different group is expressing gratitude for the presence of newcomers in our neighborhoods.

A number of employers in various communities have told Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) in recent weeks of their appreciation for their refugee employees.

In fact, as the nation reflects on the story of Thanksgiving, one of hospitality and new possibility, employers and neighbors say that their companies and communities benefit just as much from the resettlement program as refugees themselves. (Read the full newsletter.)

How and when we welcome new Americans was an important factor in the recent Presidential election and continues to be a central issue facing our country. I encourage you to consider spending time in your faith community reflecting on immigration and refugee services in your locality.

Here are several resources I was provided by my colleague, The Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén, Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries,you may find helpful in discussing immigration and refugee resettlement:

Articles
The Myth of Out-of-Control Border Violence, Sojourners

Adult Curriculum
Immigration as a Moral Issue, Curriculum from the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Becoming the Church Together: Immigration, the Bible and Our New Neighbors, Curriculum from the North Carolina Council of Churches

Church Between Borders: Curriculum from the Christian Reformed Church

“Welcoming the World to our Doorstep” Packet/Pledge, Reflections and Resources on Immigration from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Who is My Neighbor?, DVD curriculum from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition

Children’s Curriculum
With Justice and Compassion: Immigration Sessions for Children’s Education, Curriculum from the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Youth Curriculum
Immigration Reform Curriculum, from United Farm Workers

Collection of Resources
Immigration resources from the United Church of Christ

The Episcopal Church has consistently called for immigration reform. How can you join the movement to renew dignity and human rights to everyone?