2017 resolution to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference
After a year of study, the delegates at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Conference voted to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference. You can download the resolution here: Immigrant Welcoming Conference Resolution. This resolution calls on our congregations and on us to become active “Immigrant Welcoming Congregations and Communities”.
Immigration Working Group
The Immigration Working Group (IWG) is a group of Wisconsin Conference clergy and lay leaders who are concerned about immigration justice. We work to stay informed about and provide support for efforts in our local congregations to support refugees and immigrants, including those who are seeking asylum in the United States. The IWG connects monthly (usually on the first Tuesday of the month at 1pm) via Zoom, maintains an email list, and sponsors/produces informative online webinars and workshops.
To learn more about how to get involved with the Immigration Working Group, email Lisa Hart, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation and Justice Ministries.
The Immigration Working Group is hosting a Zoom workshop, “Scenes from Our Own Backyard: Supporting Afghan Refugees”, with Rev. Irene Hassan, Minister for Refugee and Migration Services for the UCC, on Thursday, November 4 from 6:30-8pm. Click here to register for the workshop.
The IWG hosted a Zoom workshop, “Immigration Justice Update” on September 30. The workshop included updates from Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C. office, and Rev. Irene Hassan, UCC Minister for Refugee and Migration Services, as well as information on the work congregations and other groups are doing in Wisconsin and Minnesota to sponsor asylum-seeking families. The workshop was recorded; the recording is available here.
The IWG created an Immigration Justice Worship Liturgy in September 2021. The liturgy focuses on the plight of immigrants attempting to enter our country. The liturgy is grounded in the biblical call to compassion, justice, and the “Extravagant Welcome” that is at the heart of the Gospel. The liturgy is as an entire worship service for congregations interested in giving a Sunday morning worship experience to this theme, but individual prayers, litanies, and songs, could be used by themselves as well.
The IWG urges congregations to sign and circulate this petition to make COVID-19 vaccines available in Haiti. The country of Haiti is now experiencing an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases, and there are no vaccines currently available in Haiti. In addition to the widespread political violence and turmoil in this ravaged nation there is now great concern that Haiti could be devasted by COVID-19. The Wisconsin Conference Immigration Working group urges members of our congregations to sign and circulate this petition initiated by Catholiccares.org and “Faith In Action” calling upon the Biden administration to send surplus doses of vaccines to Haiti immediately. This will both reduce the chances of additional suffering and loss of life in Haiti, and also make it less likely that Haitian immigrants carrying the virus will bring more cases into the U.S. Use this link to sign the petition.
Watch the recordings from the three-part Zoom series, “Immigration Justice Reset”. (Spring, 2021)
Watch the “Stories from the Border” webinars (Summer and fall, 2020)
These informative webinars, presented by the Immigration Working Group and McFarland UCC’s Not In Our Name campaign, feature reports from Rev. Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd UCC in Sahuarita, Arizona, and Linda Zuba, an attorney from Rockford, IIlinois, active in immigration advocacy. Noel Andersen, the UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants’ Rights, and Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington D.C. office, offer updates on the work being done by the United Church of Christ on the issue of immigration justice.
The Immigration Working Group is connected with the National Collaborative on Immigration (sign up to be part of the Collaboration here) through Justice and Witness Ministries (Immigration) of the United Church of Christ.
It doesn’t matter if your congregation is large or small, urban or rural, rich or poor. Congregations of any size, in any location, and with a range of financial resources can help their members and their community understand that loving our neighbors means all our neighbors.
Watch the workshop on Immigrant Welcoming Congregations (Summer, 2020)
The Immigration Working Group put together a workshop, “Immigrant-Welcoming Wisconsin: Living Out the Resolution”, to address how congregations are living out our resolution to be an Immigrant Welcoming Conference, with ideas on how churches might get involved in their communities or at our southern border. Watch the workshop here.
Reach out to immigrants in your community. Give them a chance to tell their stories. Listen to what they need.
Educate yourself, your congregation, and interested members of your community about immigration justice
Work with local or regional partners
Whenever possible, partner with immigrant communities and with organizations with expertise in the area of immigration justice. Working with partners speeds up the learning curve, helps you to find experts, and demonstrates that we want to provide what people truly need, not just what we think they need. Partners are more likely to know local needs. Partner organizations will vary from region to region and may include:
Donate to local, regional, or national organizations that support immigration justice