Matthew 25 Congregations – Discernment
HOW TO LISTEN TO GOD’S CALL TO SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS… TOGETHER.
Perhaps you have several people in your congregation who are excited about supporting and accompanying vulnerable immigrants — but not everyone is on board. This resource may help a whole congregation work together to better understand the call to join the movement, and discern together how to be involved.
- In a congregational meeting or worship service, watch this recorded webinar which explains what Sanctuary is and why it’s needed. Explain that the congregation will go through a process of learning more so that you might together decide if you want to be involved.
- Offer an educational opportunity (Adult Sunday school, small group session, book study, etc.) to learn together about why the system needs to be challenged. For suggested resources, visit www.faithrootedorganizing.net.
- Have a congregational meeting that gathers members in small (6-ish person) circles – an opportunity for everyone to voice their fears, excitement, etc. Each circle has a note-taker (and notes are shared with the group and then with the leadership team who has the final “say” in the congregation’s involvement), and follows the guidelines of a Listening Circle to answer these questions:
- What excites you about participating in the Sanctuary Movement?
- What are your fears?
- What do you need more clarity about?
- What are you willing to do now?
- If needed, the congregation commits to 40 days of prayer using the I Was an Immigrant challenge bookmark.
- Church leaders set up meetings with leader of a local coalition (or, if a coalition doesn’t exist, with lawyers, pastors who are experienced in offering Sanctuary, national Sanctuary Movement leaders, etc) so that they can get their questions answered by experts.
- Relationship-building opportunities are pursued between immigrant congregations and your congregation (Do a joint potluck, have a team volunteer at an ESL program, offer to pay for and provide nursery for a Know Your Rights training).
- Leadership of the church set up a skype date / attend a webinar with a congregation that is doing sanctuary right now.
- Make an announcement to the congregation about the results of your discernment process by a specified date, or when called upon by the local Sanctuary movement to respond to an immediate request.