The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has prepared a resource to guide in putting together public witness events that will have a positive impact on reforming U.S. immigration laws.
The 38-page resource, “How to Organize for Just & Humane Immigration Reform,” will help in planning three different kinds of events:
- Breaking Bread & Barriers (potluck and town hall meetings),
- Neighbor-to-Neighbor Meetings (in-district meetings with members of Congress) and
- Public Prayer Vigils.
All are designed to create welcoming communities for immigrants and to help congregations advocate for just, humane immigration reform.
The resource is based on experiences in advocating for immigration reform during the past three-plus years, according to Bill Mefford, director of GBCS’s Civil & Human Rights work area. “United Methodist churches have had more than 600 public witness events,” he said, “which averages out to over 200 every year, and one event every 42 hours.”
United Methodist churches have had more than 600 public witness events.
The events are listed in another resource Mefford’s office has prepared that can be downloaded from the GBCS website at “United Methodist Immigration Reform Grassroots Journal.”
“How to Organize for Just & Humane Immigration Reform” provides guidance on how to invite members of Congress and the press to your event. The resource contains sample letters, media advisories and press releases. There are templates to follow in setting up the various events, and suggested scripture to support the prayer vigil.
There are also theological reflections on the various events throughout the guide.
Appendices also include the United Methodist resolution on “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States.”
The new resource can be downloaded from the GBCS website at “How to Organize for Just & Humane Immigration Reform.”
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.
Editor's note: The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) advocates for the preservation of civil and human rights for all people throughout the world. The civil and human rights of all people are upheld by The United Methodist Church according to the Book of Discipline (¶164A).
GBCS has a Web page dedicated to “Immigration.”
Bill Mefford, GBCS director of Civil & Human Rights, supervises an “action network” that provides legislative updates, educational resources and identifies opportunities to act on issues involving immigration reform, refugees, criminal justice reform, abolition of torture, religious freedom and racial justice. He issues “action alerts” periodically through email.
Joining the Civil & Human Rights Action Network is free: contact Donna Brandyberry, (202) 488-5641.