Blessing Not Burden | December 19, 2018
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In this season of Advent, we remember that Mary and Joseph sought refuge and safety in an unfamiliar place, dependent on the hospitality of strangers. The church is called to welcome the stranger and pursue justice for the oppressed. The CRC has been active in this calling — from the southern border, to the midwest, we’re celebrating good, creative, faithful work being done to extend hospitality and advocate for justice. And as the U.S. prepares for a new Congress, now is the time to advocate for critical protections for vulnerable immigrants.

Show Your Support for Asylum-seekers: Ask Congress to Reject Increased Funding for DHS

Congress needs to pass a spending bill by December 21 in order to prevent a partial government shutdown. Despite remaining unspent funds from previous spending bills, current proposals include increased budgets for DHS.

We have seen the harmful ways that money has been used by DHS this year: profit-driven incarceration of immigrants, abusive detention conditions, harmful border enforcement policies, and unnecessary separation of families. No additional taxpayer dollars should be used to fund the detainment of immigrants or border enforcement practices that undermine the rights and safety of asylum-seekers and migrants.

Contact your members of congress by December 21st to demand that they work together to reduce harmful and reckless immigration enforcement funding; ask them to reject any DHS funding that exceeds FY18 levels. Let them know that as a Christian, you stand for those fleeing violence and persecution and their legal right to request asylum.

Do Justice Blog: Jesus Walks with Refugees: Do We Also Walk with Them?

“When we hear stories like this it becomes obvious that God is at work in ways that the church often struggles to understand. Jesus has met the refugees on the way, sometimes literally. He is walking with them as they walk, joining the orphan and widow and the miraculously intact families fleeing violence just as his family did 2,000 years ago… God is calling us to act quickly for the security and safety of these, the least of these in our midst. They come asking for very little, only a safe place to live now that their home has been destroyed by war and violence. Will we turn them away? Turn away Jesus, who walks with them today?” Read full blog post here.

DACA Educational Event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

On October 30, 2018, New Roots Ministry Center in Sioux Falls, SD hosted an event about immigration and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Immigration Regional Organizer, Jason Lief, helped organize the event, where DACA recipients shared their personal stories. Event participants were invited to submit public comments on the proposed changes to the Public Charge, which would reduce the pathways for legal immigration by making it even more difficult for low-income immigrants to get a greencard.

If you would like to host a similar educational event in your community, reach out to us! We would love to help. Check out our workshop offerings and resources here.

Asking the Right Questions in the Face of the Migrant Crisis: California Faith Leaders Respond

Pastor of Grace and Peace Community Church, a CRC congregation in Chicago, Rev. Sandra Maria Van Opstal recently joined other national faith leaders in Tijuana/San Diego in order to more deeply engage in advocacy and truth-telling about the migrant crisis there. In this video, she interviews the OSJ’s regional immigration mobilizer in Southern California, Vanessa Martinez Soltero.

As interviewees shared about what they were seeing at the border, Rev. Van Opstal encouraged viewers to be asking themselves the right questions: How did these things happen? What can I do to help as a Christian? How do we partner well with those “on the ground?” What does it mean to listen well to those that have experienced trauma and displacement? How is God working at our border?

Watch the interviews here; the conversation with Vanessa starts at minute 17:20.

Away From the Manger: The Refugee King

Singer/songwriter Liz Vice rewrote the words to the traditional Christmas carol, “Away in a Manger,” to reflect a more accurate depiction of the scene to which Christ came to earth. By today’s standards, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were refugees, asylum-seekers. Listen to and reflect on this beautiful rendition.

Away from the manger the refugee king
Away from the manger they ran for their lives
The crying boy Jesus, a son they must hide
A dream came to Joseph, they fled in the night
And they ran and they ran and they ran

No stars in the sky but the Spirit of God
Led down into Egypt from Herod to hide
No place for his parents no country or tribe
And they ran and they ran and they ran

Stay near me LORD Jesus when danger is nigh
And keep us from herods and all of their lies
I love the LORD Jesus, the Refugee King
And we sing and we sing and we sing


In Case You Missed It

  • 4 Ways to Support Asylum Seekers at the US-Mexico Border - Many are wondering what Christians who are far from the U.S. southern border can do to seek justice and support the dignity of those who are migrating. This Do Justice blog post written by Rev. Kate Kooyman has a few ideas.
  • Former U.S. Ambassador To Vietnam Criticizes Plan To Deport Vietnamese Refugees - Vietnamese immigrants are now being threatened with deportation. Some of the CRC’s earliest involvement with refugee resettlement was in the 1980s when we welcomed and assisted refugees that fled after the Vietnam War. Earlier this month, it was announced that the administration will resume its effort to deport certain Vietnamese immigrants that have lived in the US for decades. The former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam criticizes this plan, “you have to consider the circumstances that brought people to the United States. And I think members of Congress and most likely the American people don't necessarily support ejecting refugees who fought beside our soldiers in the 1960s and '70s or the children of our servicemen.”
  • New York Times: To Protect Migrants from the Police, a Dutch Church Service Never Ends - “Under an obscure Dutch law, the police may not disrupt a church service to make an arrest. And so for the past six weeks, immigration officials have been unable to enter Bethel Church to seize the five members of the Tamrazyan family, Armenian refugees who fled to the sanctuary to escape a deportation order… ‘It’s about practicing what we preach,’” stated a participating pastor from Amsterdam.