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Minute for Mission: Immigration Sunday

 

July 7, 2024

Advocacy is a special kind of ministry. It is the work of centering a particular experience of a community that is facing hardship. It takes relationship building and community organizing. This kind of public witness takes patience, care and persistence. As we celebrate Immigration Sunday, we are reminded of the countless immigrant experiences in our congregations and communities. We celebrate the dedication, commitment and countless contributions of these members.

However, we are also reminded that access to immigration relief and protection continues to be out of reach for many. This country is blessed that those leading the way seeking access and protections are immigrants themselves. They are living the experience as they urge for change. The PC(USA) has been advocating for federal policy changes alongside immigrant voices for centuries. This work is grounded in countless biblical stories: the migration events of the ancient Israelites, the migration of Noemi and Ruth, or like in the stories of the early church as communities learn to live and break bread together. In these examples, communities learned how to resist new ways of being that would harm them and learned how to be a part of ways that would help them thrive. They placed their faith in God, who accompanied them, who protected them and who urged them to live well together as a way of celebrating God.

In the U.S. context, we are blessed to be guided by communities of immigrants who speak with expertise about struggles and solutions. One such expert is Yesica Rosales Miranda. She is the co-director of El Centro in Brevard, North Carolina. She is originally from Mexico and has called the U.S. home since she was 11 years old. Yesica is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participant. In her work, she has encouraged the community center to be more involved in programs that meet specific needs of the Spanish-speaking community, like a bilingual club for youth and holding small business trainings for business owners. Yesica is grateful for DACA protections, which have allowed her to access work permits that allow her to provide assistance to the larger community. However, she is also aware that temporary protections like DACA do not provide residency or citizenship. There is a sense of a liminal stability — one that can be taken away at any moment. As we celebrate the recent passage of protections for immigrants by the Biden Administration, we know our work is not complete. There are still people in our communities, members like Yesica, who are giving of their gifts and talents, to improve life for everyone in their midst. We must continue to urge our elected officials to seek solutions for community members who do not have access to immigration status. So today, we lift up in prayer and action the unceasing work of immigrants’ rights voices and groups who lead the way to find justice, protection and stability. May we each move from being beloved strangers to being cherished family in God (Ephesians 2:19).

Access a video from an interview with Yesica talking about her experience as a DACA recipient.

Amanda Craft, Manager of Advocacy, Office of Immigration Issues, Office of the General Assembly

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 7, 2024, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Today’s Focus: Immigration Sunday

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Gabe Loredo, Archives Technician, Presbyterian Historical Society  
Lisa Love, Deputy General Counsel, Presbyterian Foundation 

Let us pray

God, we are certain you hear our cries — our cries of suffering and our cries of joy. May you hear the cacophony of voices seeking justice for the newcomer, the immigrant, the migrant, the refugee. May their voices bubble up, bringing lasting solutions of justice and equity. May all of us have the courage to be a part of this movement understanding you are revealed through each of us. When we come together as a family, we understand your depth with greater intimacy and joy. Hold space for the experience of the immigrant and help us build better and stronger communities together. Amen.

 


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