Come one, come all!

United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño is shown at a demonstration against deportations earlier this year in front of the White House. At her right is United Methodist Bishop Julius Trimble. Both bishops were arrested along with more than 30 other persons while they prayed for an end to the Obama administration’s deportations program that is tearing undocumented immigrant families apart.

Justice isn't known through our statements, but through our actions and sacrifices

In his excellent book, Disruptive Religion, Christian Smith writes that oftentimes religion serves to preserve and uphold the status quo. But historically, it can also serve "to challenge and overturn social, political and economic systems. Religion can help to keep everything in its place. But it can also turn the world upside down."

We, as the Church, can no longer preserve the status quo.

With U.S. deportations having topped 2 million and with the terror they have instilled in the immigrant community, we, as the Church, can no longer preserve the status quo: It is time to turn the world upside down.

July 31-August 1 we will, and that is why I am writing.

Bring a group to D.C.

I invite you and a team of folks you recruit to come to Washington, D.C., Thursday and Friday, July 31-August 1, to join United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño and leaders from other faith organizations for a large action of civil disobedience in front of the White House. This is a truly interfaith effort to address a wrong in our society.

This is a truly interfaith effort to address a wrong in our society.

We will demand an end to all deportations, and demand expanded deferred action for all undocumented immigrants.

We will march from the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill to the White House. We will carry pictures of those who have been deported.

We will then engage in peaceful civil disobedience until we are arrested.

This action will show that we have done all that we can with Congress. It is time for no more excuses!

Come in groups

Our civil disobedience will begin Thursday, July 31. We will begin at 9 a.m. The second day, Friday, we will have trainings and strategy meetings until 3 p.m. when we will return home.

To make this effective, I need you. I need you to come and to not come alone. In fact, we are asking folks not to come individually, but only in groups. Groups and teams are the only way we will build a multi-generational movement that will last.

We must do this now.

And here’s the deal: We have zero funding to bring you here. None, nada, zip. You will need to pile into cars and pitch in for gas. We want all to participate regardless of their documentation — they only will need ID’s for the action, or folks can provide support.

We will take care of the food once you are here. And we will provide a list of cheap places to stay, like hostels and such. For those who can’t afford that, some of us will open our homes: We will all sleep on floors and couches.

Come one, come all

This is a come-one, come-all event. We will model to the nation and the world the type of society that we want: the kind that reflects God’s Kingdom. And that will necessitate some sacrifice of comfort.

I invite you to do this not because a trip to D.C. is fun, but because it is through sacrifice that justice is best expressed and communicated. We will lead the Church into justice only as much as we are willing to sacrifice. And the Church and the world will see justice through this action.

I really believe this event can change the world. More than that, I really believe that this action will change your world and all who are part of it.

Start recruiting

So, start recruiting folks. Recruit through sharing this, but follow this up with phone calls. That is most effective.

Let me know that you are coming (bmefford@umc-gbcs.org) and how many you think you will bring. I will do all that I can to help you find affordable housing.

If you are in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area I hope you will provide some aid to those who are coming.

You can also signup to attend at No more excuses!

More details will be forthcoming. We will offer some webinars to provide training for the civil disobedience. We will get those dates out to you soon.

Editor's note: Bill Mefford is Director of Civil & Human Rights at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society.

Letter to the Editor