On September 24-26, twenty-two Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ will convene in Washington, D.C. to advocate for immigration justice. Our own Rev. Shari Prestemon will be among them.
“In the United Church of Christ we firmly believe that our faith should inform our action in the world,” Shari says. “As Conference Ministers, we felt it was important to bring our collective voice as leaders in the United Church of Christ to the cause of immigration justice, one of the most important issues of our day. As the Conference Minister of an Immigrant Welcoming Conference, I am eager to participate in this advocacy work to make our voice heard.”
Conference Ministers will host a press conference on Capitol Hill on September 25, and then disperse in small groups to meet directly with members of Congress and their staff. What can you do to be part of this effort? Write letters!
Congregations in each Conference are being asked to engage in a letter-writing campaign. Conference Ministers will hand-carry those letters to Washington, D.C. and deliver them directly to members of Congress. Reverend Prestemon hopes to need an extra suitcase for your letters from the Minnesota Conference!
Here are a few ideas regarding what the letters might contain:
1. Why is your congregation immigrant welcoming and what you are doing to support immigrants? What does the Bible teach us about how to treat immigrants?
2. Congress decides how much money will be set aside for Homeland Security including ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as Border Protection Services.) Why do you oppose spending money to detain migrant children in horrible conditions? Why do you oppose the border wall?
3. What are your concerns about separating child from their parents, especially after the raids in Mississippi? What are your concerns about children being abused while detained?
4. If you are a sanctuary or sanctuary supporting congregation, how has this impacted you and your community?
5. If you have attended vigils at the Whipple Building or the Sherburne County Jail, share what motivates you to do that?
6. If your Congregation has been working with asylum seekers; how that has impacted the life of your community? If you know people who have been detained or deported how has this affected you, your congregations, or the people deported?
7. If you have been an immigration court recorder, what have you learned from that experience?
Your letter does not have to be long; simply write from your heart. Children are also encouraged to draw pictures about what home means to them or write notes about why this issue is important to them. All letters and pictures should arrive in the Conference office (122 W Franklin Avenue; Suite 323; Minneapolis, MN 55404) no later than September 23 so that Rev. Prestemon can carry them with her to Washington, D.C. the next day.
Take this opportunity to make your voice heard and be part of this historic effort of our denomination’s Conference Ministers to advocate for immigration justice!