Posts in Immigration
Border Ministries Summit: November 21-23, 2019

The 2nd Annual Border Ministries Summit provides an opportunity to share information, build partnerships and increase awareness of the important ministries taking place on both sides of the border. 

November 21- 23, 2019, St. Philip’s In The Hills, 4440 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85718.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Learn more »

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8/19 Prayer: Asylum seekers and migrants

Give thanks to God for our church and for our ecumenical and interreligious partners as they work for the humane treatment of all who present themselves at our borders seeking asylum. Give thanks for our agencies and faith communities that have welcomed, engaged and served migrant families. And pray for those migrants, who have arrived in the United States seeking safety, justice, reconnection with families and relatives, and the opportunity to build new lives without fear.

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ELCA as a sanctuary church: What does this mean?

In this statement, Presiding Bishop Eaton provides clarifications and helpful talking points:

Dear siblings in Christ, as many of you know, last week the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution that, among other things, declared the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) a sanctuary denomination. Many of you are asking, “What does this mean?”

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Bishop Hutterer: Sanctuary, What Does It Mean?

Many of you know the ELCA Churchwide Assembly convened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last week. In addition to daily worship, during the business meetings there were many decisions and conversations, including resolutions and memorials. Among the business items addressed included a resolution on the subject of Sanctuary. The Grand Canyon Synod supports/endorses the Background Provided to the Assembly by the Memorials Committee. Please click to read more on this background, and what the resolution on Sanctuary means and does not mean.

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ELCA Churchwide Assembly declares ELCA sanctuary denomination

In a key action, the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted to approve a memorial that declares the ELCA a sanctuary church. This is the first North American denomination to declare itself a sanctuary church body. As a sanctuary church the ELCA is committed to serving and supporting migrant children and families in communities across the country.

Earlier in the day, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, joined more than 700 assembly members and others in a march and prayer vigil to the Milwaukee Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.

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22 tons of clothing processed at Streams in the Desert Lutheran, Tucson

Pastor Tom Dunham of writes: “On Monday, July 22, two semi loads of clothing arrived from Pennsylvania at Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church in Tucson. The 44,000 pounds of clothing was unloaded by hand and stacked in the church’s storage shed in less than 3 hours. Members of Streams and many other area churches, totaling 50 volunteers, worked hard in the summer heat in this labor of love. Over the next three weeks trucks from McAllen, Texas to San Ysidro, California will be arriving to take loads of clothing back to the refugee and asylum centers along the Mexican border. We are truly the church together!”

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Bishop Hutterer: For many Lutherans, immigration is a memory that is still alive…

For many Lutherans, immigration is a memory that is still alive in ourselves and our families. You may have grown up in a congregation that worshipped in different languages. Your home church might have had German inscribed in the stained glass, or you celebrated a holiday with special foods.

Our involvement with immigration is as old as the Bible.

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Pastor Mateo Chavez in Minnesota for worship and events

Our very own Mateo Chavez, pastor of San Juan Bautista Lutheran Church in Tucson, AZ, will be at Oak Grove Lutheran Church, in Richfield MN, this Sunday. At worship and dinner, Pastor Chavez will be preaching and sharing stories about ministry and work with immigrants and asylum seekers at the Nogales border crossing.

Pastor Chavez is a board member of Cruzando Fronteras, a collaborative border ministry between Episcopal, Lutheran, and Anglican communities on of borders with Mexico, Latin America, and elsewhere.

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Urge Congress to uphold access to asylum and fair immigration policies today

Click here to take action to secure funding for humane and just immigration system. Use your voice as funding decisions are made.

The ELCA AMMPARO strategy is a holistic, whole church commitment by the ELCA to accompany people who are forced to flee their communities seeking protection from suffering or violence. As church together we work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the United States.

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Responding to our sorrow with action

Recent news stories of appalling conditions at immigrant detention centers and of deep human sorrow on our country’s southern border have many of us desperate to be part of change.

Lutherans have a deep-rooted history in refugee and immigrant issues. One of every six Lutherans in the world was a refugee or displaced person after WWII. The God-given dignity in all people and value of family unity have been cornerstones of ELCA faith-based advocacy, and we understand that many immigrants, as well as their families, are both afraid and confused by recent developments. Here are some ways Lutherans have acted and can continue to respond.

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In the News: Refugees, community groups come together to celebrate World Refugee Day

Tanque Verde Lutheran Church and Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest got a mention in this Tucson.com article. “Refugees and community resource groups in Tucson celebrated the day with live music, food and children’s games and activities. Community groups also provided information for refugees as they integrate into the Tucson community.”

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Congratulations to Servant of Christ Award Winners!

Congrats to New Spirit Lutheran Church, Tucson, and All Saints Lutheran Church, Phoenix!

Recipients of the Servant of Christ Award from Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, they have truly shown the love of our Savior and embodied the mission of Lutheran Social Services—showing kindness, doing justice, and serving those in need.

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Finding a bright path through chaos

Crisis and urgency bordering on chaos are common themes of most news outlets’ headlines. Violence, climate change, hunger, migration… Are we faced with hopeless situations as the headlines seem to indicate? Absolutely not.

Addressing crises of the world may be urgent but must be expediently tactical. God has gifted us with many tools to help us navigate toward viable solutions. The Talanoa Dialogue process is one such tool.

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It Was a Good Day: A letter from a volunteer

Dear Friends, 

A Homeland Security bus pulled up and out walked 30 people, most from Guatemala and a few from Honduras. Volunteers met them outside and welcomed them. As you can imagine, they were quiet but some offered big smiles. Once all were assembled, an orientation was given. Shortly after orientation, phone calls were made to sponsors so travel arrangements could be made for the last leg of their journey.

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Second Chances: A Migrant Story

In 2013, Juan began the journey to the United States, spurred by extreme poverty and lack of opportunities in El Salvador. He attempted to get on “La Bestia” (The Beast) – a network oftrains used by migrants to travel towards the U.S. border. During his attempt to climb aboard, his legs were trapped by the wheels of the train, causing him to lose both his legs. He almost died.

A block from Juan’s home is Our Redeemer, a congregation of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church (ILS). The pastor, Francisco Aguilar, heard about Juan’s story. Read the full story »

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