This past week, I traveled with the youth group to New York City for a United Methodist Seminar on immigration. We spent time discussing historic and current immigration trends, regulations, and reform.
As a part of the Seminar, we did site visits to different organizations which handle immigration issues. My group visited the New Sanctuary Coalition, a faith-based organization headquartered at Judson Memorial Church.
This coalition trains and sends people to accompany those facing detention and deportation to their periodic legal hearings. They provide a ministry of presence and witness to these undocumented immigrants, helping them to feel less isolated and intimidated as they go through the process.
We also heard firsthand experiences of those who are currently facing detention and deportation.
Throughout the week, the youth were able to develop and express their ideas of what they think welcome looks like in the Kingdom of God. They made sculptures, wrote poems, and drew pictures.
At the end of the seminar, we all shared our thoughts about the experience – what we learned, what may have changed in our hearts, and what we planned to do with our newly acquired experiences.
Many people, myself included, shared how astounded we were about how little we really understood about the issue. In our region of the country, we are not as directly affected by immigration as others are.
But, with the recent news concerning the influx of children coming to America to escape gangs and violence, we can no longer look the other way. Regardless of our political affiliation, it is still important for us as Christians to respond to and to foster discussion about this serious human rights issue.
Scripture tells us that we should welcome to strangers in our land, as we were once strangers in the land of Egypt (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33-34). I don’t know what this means in terms of the language of the law. Laws are important. We need a legal structure in order to function as a country. But I do know that something needs to be changed.
We shouldn’t be a country in which people are afraid of leaving their homes because they worry about never returning. We shouldn’t be a country that separates parents from their children for something as trivial as a traffic violation.
I have never been one to challenge what I am told. I have always seen the world through rose-colored glasses, assuming that everything is good-natured and well-meaning. This week was difficult for me, as I was challenged to test my belief in a system which I now realize is severely broken.
What we were given this week was the knowledge and the confidence to come back into our homes and our churches with a better understanding of the immigration issue. Understanding which hopefully sparks honest discussion. I pray that we all have ears to hear what the youth and adults on this trip have to say. I pray that we all have eyes to see what we can do in our church and in our community to help raise awareness of this issue.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:14
This Week in Worship
This Sunday is the 7th Sunday after Pentecost. The sermon is called “Loves.” Scripture: Genesis 29:15–28
Summer Worship Schedule
continues this Sunday!
Sunday School 9:15 A.M.
Fellowship Time 10:00 A.M.
Worship Service 10:30 A.M.
School Supplies Needed
It’s that time of year again and we’re collecting the following supplies for under-privileged children in the Altavista area.
Monetary gifts may also be given to a “school supply fund.” A box is in narthex for your donations. We will be taking them up through Sunday, Aug. 31st. Thank you for your support.
||Pencils with erasers (#2)
||1” loose-leaf binders
||Flat pink erasers
|Ziplock bags (any size)
|Spiral composition books
|Black & white marble
||Plastic pocket folders
||Blue, black & red pens
||3 subject notebooks
|Ruled notebook filler
The Children’s Department is participating in Tennessee H.U.G.S., a ministry which collects gently used shoes to send around the United States as well as the Dominican Republic, Uganda, Russia and the Appalachian Mountains for those who need shoes.
This ministry was started by Olivia Wright, a young girl from Hendersonville, TN. She has been able to send over 34,500 pairs of shoes to those in need. We will be collecting shoes as an ongoing project to send to TN.
Please bring any shoes you no longer wear or need to us. There will be a collection box at the entrance of the Children’s Department on the second floor in which to place your donated shoes. Our first sendoff date is June 29, so please help us out by bringing any shoes to be donated to our collection box by this date. THANKS!