When it comes to divisive issues like immigration, how do we think about them as Christians? In this video, Rev. Kate Kooyman shares themes from the Bible that can help us think faithfully about immigration - which is all over Scripture.
Scripture is not a textbook for politics, but it can and should inform the way we engage with politics - especially on issues that impact human lives. Watch the video to learn more!
We often hear the question: “Why don’t undocumented immigrants just get in line to immigrate legally?” This 15-minute video explains what those lines or avenues for legal immigration to the U.S. are, who can get in them (and who can’t), and how long it takes to get through those lines.
There are essentially four avenues or “lines” to immigrate or move to the U.S. to live and work there permanently: the family preference line, the employment-based line, the refugee and asylum case line, and the diversity visa lottery line.
Opinions tend to run high about the issue of immigration, but often our shared set of facts runs low. If we’re going to think faithfully about immigration, it’s important that we share an understanding of how immigration works today—and maybe dispel some myths or misunderstandings that we didn’t even know we had. Watch the video to learn more!
Invite your congregation to pray using the Immigrants Are a Blessing litany to remember the blessing of immigrants throughout scripture and today. Order a free printed copy from Faith Alive's online catalogue.
The Immigrants' Creed professes the Christian faith through the experience of an immigrant. Find it on the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship's webpage here.
In the Bible, strangers are often used by God to bring blessing. Immigrants today are a blessing to our congregations, communities, families, economy, and country. They are created in the image of God. And God expressly, and repeatedly, commands us to welcome the stranger.
What are practical ways your church can follow this command? Whether immigrants are already part of your neighborhood or living in communities farther away, this Ten Ways Tool contains ten ideas for showing hospitality and experiencing the blessing immigrants bring. Order a free copy from Faith Alive's website here.
Have you ever heard a sermon or preached on immigration?
Thinking about preaching on immigration in your congregation? Looking to learn what the Bible has to say about immigration?
In the summer of 2015, we launched the Immigration Preaching Challenge to encourage pastors to address this important issue. Check out the sermons here and consider preaching on immigration at your congregation! If you feel encouraged to preach your own sermon on immigration after reading through these sermons, read our initial challenge to pastors here for more resources and places to start.
Christy and Brad Knetsch, pastors at Madison CRC's Ford campus, preached a sermon titled “Testify: Immigrants Are a Blessing, Not a Burden." We asked Christy a few questions about why they chose to preach on immigration--and to do an immigration action alert during the service! Check out her blog piece "Why We Preach on Immigration" and the sermon here.
Immigration and the Bible is a resource from the Mennonite Mission Network that contains Biblical themes of migration in both the Old and New Testament.
The Christian Reformed Church was established by immigrants. The CRC Office of Social Justice has collected stories through recorded interviews of CRC and RCA members' immigration stories to remind us of where many of us came from and what we have in common with today's immigrants. You'll hear stories from individuals across North America that came here from across the world. Find all of the interviews on this page.
Romans 13 and Separated Families: A Conversation with the CRC’s Syd Hielema and the RCA’s Jim Brownson
Not sure what to make of the use of Scripture to justify the treatment of children at the border? Check out this conversation with New Testament scholars from the CRC and RCA to help your sermon preparation, Bible reading, or simply making-sense-of-this-moment.
What's the Bigger Picture on Immigration (Policy Proposals, Rhetoric, Separated Kids, and What You Can Do Now)
Overwhelmed by all the immigration headlines? Susan Reed, immigration attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, and Matt Soerens, U.S. director of church mobilization for World Relief talk with Kate Kooyman, from the CRC Office of Social Justice, to help cut through the noise and discover ways to productively engage during this critical (and scary) time for immigrants.
- Speak up for families at the border by emailing congress here
- Add your name to the Evangelical Immigration Table letter on family separation
It’s time to unlearn that immigrants are a burden. Scripture, our own experience, and truths about the economy and our communities teach us that immigrants are a blessing. Learn more specific facts about how immigrants are a blessing here.
Do Justice Blog Posts about Immigration
Do Justice is a blog shaped by a variety of voices examining and reflecting on justice issues with a Reformed accent. This is what we can accomplish when communities, churches, and individuals wrestle with injustice. Together we’re finding new ideas and perspectives, sharing better ways to engage in justice work, remembering our motivation, and growing our faith. This is also a place to learn more about the role of the church in justice work, why the church cares, and why this work matters. Click here to find Do Justice blog posts relating to immigration.
Recent events in the U.S. have brought to light the profound impact that immigration policies can have on the opportunities and plans of international students. In this Do Justice series we hear directly from international students and we listen carefully to their experiences and stories. Explore this timeline to learn more!
The CRCNA has an immigration story that we sometimes forget about and need to remember as we encounter our immigrant neighbors today. To hear one another’s immigration stories and learn about immigration in the U.S. both yesterday and today, engage your congregation in the “Immigration Is Our Story” workshop created by the CRC’s Office of Social Justice and Faith Formation Ministries.
Church Between Borders is an interactive workshop that helps participants understand the brokenness of the U.S. immigration system, immigration policy throughout U.S. history, and how we can advocate for a more just system. The workshop brings people from many perspectives together to engage with immigration from a biblical perspective. Click here to learn more.
Books and Guides
Welcoming the Stranger
In their book, Welcoming the Stranger, Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang Yang move beyond rhetoric to offer a Christian response to immigration. They put a human face on the issue and tell stories of immigrants' experiences inside and outside of the system. With careful historical understanding and thoughtful policy analysis, they debunk myths and show the limitations of the current immigration system. Ultimately they point toward immigration reform that is compassionate, sensible, and just, offering concrete ways to welcome and minister to our immigrant neighbors.
The God Who Sees
Karen Gonzalez - a speaker, writer, and immigrant advocate originally from Guatemala - invites readers to hear the stories of biblical characters that fled their homelands in her book, "The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong." By sharing personal stories and the stories of biblical heroes of faith, Gonzalez helps us to "find the power of Jesus, a refugee Savior who calls us to become citizens in a country not of this world." Hear her lecture about the themes in her book at the Calvin University January Series 2020 here. You can also read an interview between Gonzalez and immigration mobilizer Melissa Stek.
This resource from the National Immigration Forum gives you a concise overview of the history of U.S. immigration, how the current system works and doesn't work, and what can be done to fix it.
Facilitators and Congregational Justice Mobilizers
We're ready to walk with you on immigration. Contact us to get started!
Melissa is a Justice Mobilization Specialist focused on Immigration for the Office of Social Justice. She is available to speak, meet with groups, and to help you engage the topic of immigration and learn how to extend justice and mercy to our immigrant neighbors.
Contact Melissa by phone at 616-241-1691 x2847, or by email at email@example.com.
Kendra is an Immigration and Justice Specialist for the Office of Social Justice. She is available to lead our Church Between Borders Immigration Workshop in your congregation, adult-education class, youth group, school, college, community organization, and more..
Contact Kendra by phone at (616) 241-1691 x2193, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kris is the Congregational Justice Mobilizer for the Office of Social Justice and World Renew. He equips people as they act on Jesus' instructions to be peacemakers, to do justice, and to prevent the root causes of poverty and hunger.
Kris previously worked for 10 years as a pastor and church ministries director.
Contact Kris by phone at 616-241-1691, x236, or by email at email@example.com.
Viviana works with the Office of Race Relations and partners with us on immigration education. She is available to facilitate Church Between Borders in Spanish. She is also working to create a network of pastors who will learn from each other about being a congregation that welcomes and supports recent immigrants.
Contact Viviana by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.