A prayer celebrating the gifts of new immigrants

 

This Sunday, Presbyterians will be thankful for the many gifts immigrants bring

by Susan Krehbiel, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Children in sequin dresses dance as part of an anniversary celebration of On The Way Church, a 1001 New Worshiping Community for immigrants in the Atlanta area. (Courtesy of On The Way Church)

This prayer is dedicated to celebrating the gifts of new immigrants as part of the Special Days and Emphases of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Gifts of New Immigrants is celebrated the last Sunday of September. This year, the celebration occurs on Sept. 29.

O God, our Creator, we give you thanks for the unique and diverse gifts you have endowed upon humanity — the many languages, cultures, customs and ways to glorify you. We give you thanks for the sharing of these gifts by our immigrant neighbors who are new to our churches and communities. We give thanks for the intertwining of our lives, as it is through the sharing of each other’s struggles and the deep desires of our hearts that we might discover what you have declared good and precious.

O God, our Sustainer, we ask that you guide and comfort those who come to our lands due to circumstances beyond their control, forcing them to leave their countries in search of safety and freedom. And may that same sustaining Spirit lift up all those who offer friendship and accompaniment and speak out in solidarity for the rights and dignity of all you call blessed.

O Merciful God, forgive us for the xenophobia and racism that persists in our society, spurring acts of hatred and policies that demean us.  May your loving Spirit open our hearts and cast out fear and derision so that we may meet Jesus in the faces of our newest neighbors.  In your holy name we pray, trusting in the power of your love to bind us together as one people. Amen.

Year round resources and information on immigration and refugee issues are offered from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Refugee Ministry page and from the Office of the General Assembly’s Office of Immigration Issues.

Susan Krehbiel is associate for Refugees and Asylum for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.


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