Faith In Action: Supporting Our Immigrant Brothers & Sisters
When many of us heard about the separation of immigrant children from their parents, we were outraged. We were horrified by the pictures, haunted by the video of crying children, and hurt by the cruelty of our fellow Americans. As Christians, many of us knew that despite differences on policy, traumatizing children in this way was just wrong. But what could we do? What should we do? How do we respond to an issue that seems to be so political? Now what? As part of a national movement, rallies took place all over the country on Saturday, June 30 to urge our elected officials to reunite families and seek humane immigration practices. On that same day, over 100 people rallied in Englewood to end family separation. The Englewood rally was organized by Metro Community Church, in partnership with Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mount Olive Baptist Church, and the Bergen County Branch of the NAACP and brought together faith leaders, immigration activists, politicians, and other concerned individuals. It was a remarkable day – hearing stories, learning about policies, and raising our collective voices on behalf of those who are too vulnerable to fight for themselves.
But our commitment to caring for our neighbors, the stranger, the immigrant didn’t stop there. Sunday, July 29 was declared Immigration Sunday at Metro. Pastor Michael Carrion began our Justice Matters series reminding us that God cares about the stranger and calls us to do the same – to remember that were once strangers in a strange land (the people of Israel in Egypt or even ourselves or family members in the United States.) (Deuteronomy 10:17-19) And even after the impassioned (and convicting) message, many still wondered “Now what? What can I do?” Metro’s JAC ministry organized an Immigration Forum following the second serviced aimed to answer that question.
Here are some takeaways from the panels:
- We can listen to the stories of our brothers and sisters. Two Metro families shared their immigration ordeal. It was heart-wrenching to hear about the separation, fear, and feelings of helplessness our brothers and sisters have had to endure.
- We can educate ourselves about the issues. Pastor Michael Carrion and immigration attorney, Reba Kim provided clarifying information about current immigration law and practices. Our eyes were opened to what is happening right in our midst.
- We can get involved. Representatives from four organizations that work with immigrant individuals and families spoke about the work they are doing and how we can volunteer. So many people reached out to volunteer and JAC will host another event in the Fall to learn about other opportunities. Information about the organizations in attendance will be posted on the JAC page of the Metro website.
The Bible reminds us that faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Unless we put our faith and convictions into action, our faith becomes stale, inactive, and inconsequential. Let us put our faith and love in action on behalf of some of the most vulnerable among us.
If you missed our immigration panel, you can watch the full video below!
Submitted by Sanetta Ponton