Immigration Justice

After nearly one year of the discernment, an Immigration & Sanctuary Team recommended that our congregation is not called to provide physical sanctuary for people under threat of detention/deportation. On Sunday, April 22, 2018, a Special Parish Meeting of St. John’s Episcopal Church affirmed that decision and unanimously approved the following Immigration Statement.

The Parish affirms that Saint John’s Episcopal Church is called to be a place that is welcoming, safe, and supportive of our immigrant friends, family, and neighbors. Our parish will respond to this call at this time by:

  • Providing a safe place for all to worship, regardless of immigration status;
  • Offering classes and resources to the immigrant community to help immigrants be aware of their rights and to assist people to pursue a legal immigration status and/or United States citizenship;
  • Developing networks and relationships so that anyone known to be under threat of deportation from the United States can be connected with people/organizations with resources to legally assist.

In addition, the parish will:

  • become a signatory to the Episcopal churches’ issue statement ‘of shared values about immigration and refugees’ (see below);
  • reflect our Latino/Latina culture, along with the cultures of other immigrants in our congregation, in and around our parish grounds and life;
  • partner with Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates (LIA) for legal services and assistance with immigration issues and, when able, consider LIA as an organization to support financially through mission and outreach;
  • establish a Joint Ministries Team to arrange activities of interest to our English speaking and Spanish speaking members (click here to join the Team!);
  • establish an Immigration Justice Leadership Team (click here to join the Team!).

The issue statement about immigration and refugees is below:

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

A Statement of Shared Values about Immigration & Refugees

Scripture and tradition call us to welcome the immigrant and the stranger. Abraham and Sarah’s travels in Genesis, including their hospitality to three strangers by the oaks of Mamre, and the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt in the Gospel of Matthew remind us that God protects those who seek safety in foreign lands. Scripture also calls people of faith to provide refuge:

“The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt” — (Leviticus 19:34).

The undersigned clergy of The Episcopal Church are making a shared statement of values about the presence of immigrants and refugees in our communities. Our congregations are diverse. We are high church and low church, big and small, from red states and blue states. Our parishioners hold points of view across the political spectrum.

We share a common commitment to honor immigrants, refugees, and neighbors from different religions and we are deeply disturbed by the current swell of fear and scapegoating which seeks to criminalize and unfairly deport undocumented immigrants in our communities.

We are a nation of immigrants, and immigrants are important to the future of our country. They face problems particular to their status but they are deeply connected with our wider communities. They are long-time friends, neighbors, colleagues, students, service providers– and taxpayers. Statistics show that immigrants support a growing economy and that the crime rate among immigrants is lower than the general population.

But data is secondary to our unshakable biblical conviction that every person reflects the image of God and deserves to be treated with dignity. In Jesus Christ, there is no “they;” there is only “we.” Immigration policies are not hypothetical questions for us. Many of our congregations include immigrants and our ministries work with refugees in our neighborhoods. Many of our communities have already been raided by immigration officials. Families are being separated and children left stranded. Our neighbors have reason to be afraid.

We commit to build relationships with immigrants and refugees in our communities, to know their stories and understand how our congregations can be in solidarity with them.

We stand together to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (1 John 4:20).

 

One thought on “Immigration Justice

  • November 23, 2016 at 11:27 am
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    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I’m an Anglican Immigrant lady very much interested in getting involved in your Church’s Refugee Resettlement Project. However, I’m not a member of St. John’s Parish. Do I have to be a member of your Parish in order to help the Kondas settle down in the USA? I remember how lost I felt coming to the USA for the first time, to a very different culture and a different about everything and fully understand, based on my personal experiences, what it’s like to be in the Kondas shoes and I’m hoping that I could use those experiences to help them navigate a whole new way of doing things. But even more important, coming from Africa myself, though not from the same Country as the Kondas, probably puts me in a good position to try and assist as far as Cultural Differences are concerned.

    In 2003, I had the opportunity to be involved with the Sudanese Group of Refugees , referred tob y the Muskegon Chronicles back then as “The Lost Boys” who were sponsored and placed in Grand Haven by a Grand Haven Church. I contacted them after I read about them and visited them in Grand Haven. They were overjoyed just to know that there was someone who understood their Culture and Fears in a whole different world , eventhough back then, I had nothing to offer them materially, as I was still working with the Detroit Immigration Court, and was not fully settled myself. Just the Emotional Support meant a lot to them.

    Even little things like helping with Homework for those who were enrolled in GED/ other Classes, helping with English Instruction for those learning English as a second language, enlightening them about resources available to them in the Community to help navigate their new environment. The Public Library, for instance is a very wonderful place to be when one moves to a whole new different place.

    Please don’t hesitate to forward my name and contact information to the Konda Family, so they can contact me anytime. Although I live in Norton shores, I’m in Grand Haven 5 – 7 days a week for my new job where I work second shift (03:00 pm – 11:00 pm). Before heading into work I spend most days at the Loutit Public Library located at 407 Columbus Avenue, Grand Haven, MI 49417.

    3038 Bailey Street; Norton Shores; MI 49444 Cell Phone #: (248)325-7714.

    Because my job takes me into Grand Haven almost every day, I’m planning to relocate there and have considered taking some membership classes at St. John’s Parish. I left Muskegon county in July of 2003 , and just moved back last June after a long stay in Washington, DC where I was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church by Lafayette Square, right across from the White House.

    Have a wonderful Festive Season.

    Grace Mukobe Kaluba.

    Reply

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