NC RELIGIOUS COALITION FOR JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS
The NC Council of Churches is pleased to announce the publication of a brand new biblically based curriculum on immigration issues, entitled Becoming the Church Together: Immigration, the Bible & Our New Neighbors. Designed to facilitate constructive discussion, this flexible curriculum guides small groups through the many aspects of this topic with an emphasis on studying the Bible together.
Why immigration? Immigration is more than just a hot-button political issue, it’s about how we as Christians respond to our new neighbors. Over the last 20 years the Latino population of North Carolina has grown by 1000%, and churches across the state are wrestling with how to be faithful to the Gospel while dealing with complicated questions about laws, economics, and status.
Becoming the Church Together is a great resource for Sunday School classes, Bible studies, adult education groups, informal study sessions, youth groups, and other groups who study the Bible together.
- Free DVD with video clips and discussion questions
- Thought-provoking questions
- Interactive activities, such as the Immigration Board Game
- Full text of Bible verses
- Suggestions for how congregations can get involved
- Space to take notes
- And more
Ideas for Action
There are many ways for your congregation to get involved:
- Sign up for our immigration updates.
- Pick up free copies of the NC Council of Churches’ new Bible study: “Becoming the Church Together.”
- Host a community dialogue event that focuses on immigration (visit www.unitingnc.org to learn more).
- Host a film screening, such as Gospel Without Borders, to learn more about people who are affected by immigration.
- Teach a Sunday-school or small group class on immigration.
Connecting with Immigrants
- Form a congregational or community partnership with a local Latino center, immigrant rights group, or other similar organization.
- Participate in the new “Neighbors Together” dinner-dialogue program by the NC Council of Churches.
- Volunteer to teach English as a Second Language classes.
- Attend worship at a congregation with immigrants in your community.
- Sponsor a refugee family through a local refugee resettlement organization.
Standing with Immigrants
- Join the NC Religious Coalition for Justice for Immigrants by signing our statement.
- Contact national political leaders to express support for comprehensive immigration reform and opposition to enforcement-only measures.
- Meet with members of state and local governments to express support for measures including access to higher education, drivers’ licenses, and opposition to anti-immigrant legislation.
- Oppose the implementation of 287(g), “Secure Communities,” and other local enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Sign Our Statement
As people of faith and conscience from across North Carolina, we believe that our calling is to welcome immigrants, offering them hospitality and justice. While we recognize that immigration policy is a complex issue that divides people of goodwill, our faiths compel us to stand with immigrants in their struggle for justice. We confess that, all too often, we have remained silent.
We remember the words of Moses when he said, “Do not mistreat foreigners living in your land, but treat them just as you treat your own citizens. Love foreigners as you love yourselves, because you were foreigners one time in Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34).
We remember the words of Jesus when he said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35).
We remember the words of the Qur’an when it says, “Do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbor from among your own people, and the neighbor who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer…” (An-Nisa 4:36).
As people of faith, we stand today in a long tradition of those who have been faithful in providing hospitality for those in need and in seeking justice for the oppressed.
It is crucial that people of faith respond to the immigration crisis by offering advocacy and welcome in the face of rising anti-immigrant sentiment. Religious communities find in our scriptures traditions which call us to welcome the stranger, promote hospitality, and seek justice. People of faith should call for legislative reforms which are fair, humane, and address the root causes of why people migrate.
Since nearly all citizens in the United States today are descended from people from other nations, we are called to offer support to newer immigrants who contribute to our economy and culture but who suffer discrimination, abuse, and hardship as a result of their status as immigrants.
We deplore any governmental action which unduly emphasizes enforcement as the primary response to immigrants entering this country or which criminalizes persons providing humanitarian assistance to migrants. We encourage the state and local governments of North Carolina to provide for fair treatment and protection of our state’s immigrant population, including access to education and mobility. In addition, we are troubled and grieved by the separation of families and other forms of suffering that continue to take place as a result of immigration raids.
We recognize that immigration policy is complex and multi-faceted, but we agree that all immigrants are made in God’s image and that our religious traditions demand that we care especially for the stranger. We call on all people of faith to stand with immigrants as a matter of religious responsibility, to advocate for their well-being and protection, and to educate our local communities about issues affecting immigrant peoples.
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