Forward Movement invites individuals and congregations to explore the difficult but important issues of migration and immigration in a new, free resource, No Longer Strangers: Exploring Immigration Issues. The downloadable booklet encourages discussion of migration and immigration through the lens of scripture and shared Christian values, presents opposing viewpoints, and invites people to talk about the issues with civility and respect. The booklet includes biblical references on hospitality, examples of migrations as they appear in the scriptures, and thought-provoking questions that can be used for both personal study and group discussion.
“So often conversations around the border, particularly in the United States, are politicized,” says the Rt. Rev. Michael Hunn, Bishop of the Diocese of Rio Grande. “This resource by Forward Movement is designed to help break down those barriers and create real Christian conversation among people of faith.”
The booklet was presented at the Borderland Ministry Summit held last November in El Paso. Anglican/Episcopal leaders from both sides of the U.S. southern border gathered to discuss issues such as socioeconomic conditions in Central America, displacement, and how to provide humanitarian help to migrants.
“The summit emphasized that immigration is a complex and nuanced issue,” says Hugo Olaiz, who authored No Longer Strangers and attended the summit. “For example, I learned that some of the ICE agents deployed at the border actually help rescue sick and lost migrants who would otherwise die in the desert.”
The event was attended not only by Episcopalians from the U.S., but also by Anglican leaders from Mexico and El Salvador–including two Latino bishops. Says Hugo: “When Latinos and Anglos work together and learn from each other, ignorance and fear no longer prevail, and hope and understanding emerge.”
As Christians, we must not shy away from discussing immigration. We are called to think and talk about it in our homes, with our friends, and in our churches. Adult forums or formation classes should be places where we can address difficult issues and exchange opinions with love and respect.
No Longer Strangers was developed by Forward Movement in consultation with staff from Episcopal Migrations Ministries and the Office of Government Relations of the Episcopal Church. For a free download, visit www.ForwardMovement/NoStrangers.