Synod Workshop: Reaching Out to Immigrants
Christine Jones is Director of Mobilization for the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, and serves on the Immigration Legal Aid Steering Team at Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA where she and her family attend. With her husband Andrew’s long career in International Development, she has lived in Ecuador, Kenya, and Rwanda, and later traveled to Burma, China, and Vietnam as an ESOL Ministry Coordinator. At Synod 2017, Jones will be sharing how to love the immigrants around us through the practical means of a legal aid ministry.
From your position with ARDF, how have you seen churches serving the immigrants around us, and how can we improve?
The Hurricanes have been a great example right here in the USA! Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for federal assistance and can be scared to ask for help. Churches reaching out to these populations (using ARDF relief funds) have truly lived out the call to love our neighbors.
In Egypt, the Anglican Church has been working with refugees, starting by inviting them in to be tutored. Eventually this became a school (as the children could not enroll in Egyptian schools) and an entire suite of ministry offerings. Although the Archbishop Mouneer Anis said that everyone was asked at early events not to talk about religion or politics, that is always what they discuss. “People are hungry to hear the word of God,” he says.
What are some of the most difficult issues facing immigrants in our cities right now?
We started a legal aid clinic because when we asked the immigrants in our surrounding community what needs they had, legal aid came up repeatedly. Since then, the executive orders, the threats to sanctuary cities, the lack of a coherent immigration law – all of these things create fear and uncertainty in ALL immigrant populations.
What action items will workshop attendees take home with them about starting or continuing ministry to immigrants in their midst?
I will touch on other ministries (our church started with a small ESOL partnership), but really focus on the action steps we took to begin a legal aid ministry. Participants will come away with what is involved in the process, what supports there are, and people to contact to help them navigate it! I really hope they come away with a vision for how their church could reach out to offer legal aid.
Registration is now open for Conference & Synod 2017: Mission Matters. Join us November 3-4 as we explore how local churches can be on mission in today’s world, reach out to our communities with the Gospel, worship, re-connect, learn, and discern together!
Visit the Conference & Synod 2017 site to learn more about speakers, workshops, lodging, and the weekend schedule.