There are a variety of ways you can engage in prayerful action around this year’s theme of welcoming the stranger!
Learn more and become a teacher
The two WDP 2013 Bible Studies focus on the ways God calls us to welcome the stranger. Available in the Leader’s Guide or to order separately, the Bible Studies can be used in existing adult education classes, or can be used in a new group. Invite women and men from your church or other churches in your neighborhood to study with you. Order or download them in our store.
Denominational Online Resources
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) created helpful “Mythbuster” sheets that use visuals to communicate what is actually happening with immigrant communities in the US. Available to download at: http://www.lirs.org/mythbusters. Find more denominational resources on immigration and migration here.
Host a Speaker
Inviting local immigration professionals, social service providers, people from refugee communities in your area, and immigrants to share their stories and expertise can help you gather information about immigration issues in your community and provide and opportunity to ask questions. Invite all the churches in your area to this ecumenical event as a precursor to WDP or as a follow-up. More tips on planning for a speaker here.
Watch a movie to learn more, or host a movie night in your home or church. Each of these movies will inspire deeper conversations. As you watch, try to put yourself in the shoes of the characters in the movie, and remain mindful of God’s call for us to welcome the stranger. Click here for a list of recommended films and discussion questions.
Pray for God to make you open to welcoming strangers. Ask that God remove judgment from your heart and help you see each person as a human being, a child of God, worthy of respect and dignity. Pray for all without a home in their country of origin, all who have had to leave their home for one reason or another, all who live in a place that is strange or frightening to them. Lift up these prayers personally and add them to prayers read and spoken in your church on Sunday.
The wheels of justice can turn slowly. Already in the U.S., immigration reform has been debated for a decade or more. While continuing to work within our democratic process, people of faith can undertake the task of education and direct service partnerships. This can help meet the immediate needs of a broken immigration system and prepare people for a debate and discussions that are consistent with the gospel mandate to love our neighbor.
Direct service partnership requires the input and voice of your entire community. Whether you are congregation of migrants or mostly non-immigrant congregation, working with people and organizations representing the breadth of diversity in your community is the best way to establish the resources and needs that exist. Find more ideas on how to get involved here.
Advocating through our democratic process is a great way to affect change. Find out who represents you by searching www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt. Then give your representative a call or send a letter urging them to support policy that “welcomes the stranger,” upholding the dignity and human rights of all people. Identify yourself as a person of faith and as their constituent. Follow our blog for more updates on current legislation.