By MC USA staff
Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) recently released five brief videos featuring first-person narratives from immigrants and immigration advocates speaking about their experiences and work. The videos are intended to encourage individuals and congregations to engage in immigration justice. They are part of the denomination’s “Learn, Pray, Join” initiative that focuses on “Immigration Justice: Radical Hospitality.”
“We hope that our ‘Learn, Pray, Join’ videos help to put a face on immigration justice,” said Sue Park-Hur, MC USA’s denomination minister for transformative peacemaking. “These people are part of our church. These are our stories – stories of people who are embracing their identities and going beyond advocacy to embody radical hospitality.”
The videos were created with congregational viewing in mind, explains Park-Hur. They are between three- to five-minutes long and can be downloaded, shared via social media and/or played directly from YouTube during a virtual or in-person worship service or gathering. The videos are available here.
“We encourage our churches to give voice to these fellow believers by sharing their videos, so that their work may be seen,” said Park-Hur. “Immigration justice is a life-and-death issue, and this is work in which we all can engage.”
The videos center the voices of:
Myrna (last name withheld for safety): Myrna is an asylum seeker, former ICE detainee and advocate for immigration justice. She met Tina Slachbach, pastor of Shalom Mennonite Church, through the Casa Mariposa Detention Visitation program during her time in an Arizona detention center before she was deported against her wishes. She shares her experiences.
Ana Hinojosa: Hinojosa is an immigration education coordinator at Mennonite Central Committee Central States Region and a member of New Life Christian Center in San Benito, Texas. She talks about how the pandemic has impacted immigrants in her South Texas community and shares practical ways to practice “Radical Hospitality.”
Dr. Maribel Ramírez Hinojosa, Ph.D., Hinojosa is a clinical psychologist in College Station, Texas, and a board member of Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network (BIIN). Hinojosa shares about the many services BIIN offers as “God’s hands and feet to our immigrant neighbors” and about her personal work providing pro bono psychological testing for undocumented youth at border facilities.
Sarah Jackson: Jackson is founder and executive director of Casa de Paz, a hospitality home for ICE detainees and their families in Denver, Colorado. She shares about how “Radical Hospitality” means getting “back to the root” of hospitality and how this is vital to her Anabaptist faith values.
Linda and Jack Knox: Linda and Jack Knox of Tucson, Arizona, are members of Shalom Mennonite Fellowship and Christian Peacemaker Teams. They share how they are spending their retirement assisting with providing shelter and services to migrants and their families, residents in need, volunteers and visiting MCC groups.
“It is encouraging to witness the strength that these individuals demonstrate and to see the fruit of transformative peacemaking,” said Park-Hur. “It is the Spirit at work!”
The “Learn, Pray, Join” initiative on “Immigration Justice: Radical Hospitality” also includes:
- Opportunities to learn more about immigration justice through news stories, blogs and additional resources.
- An invitation to pray for immigrants and migrant children who are experiencing the trauma of physical hardships, displacement and separation from loved ones.
- A call to join in the advocacy work that is already occurring in MC USA congregations and across the broader Anabaptist community.
Resources for the “Learn, Pray, Join” on Immigration Justice: Radical Hospitality initiative are available at https://www.mennoniteusa.org/ministry/peacebuilding/learn-pray-join/immigration-justice/
MC USA’s “Learn, Pray, Join” initiatives seek to create opportunities across the church for deepening understanding around a common topic and coming together in prayer and support.
Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 86 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org