By Kathleen McQuillen, AFSC Iowa Program Coordinator
Trinity United Methodist Church in Des Moines, home of the Las Americas UMC Faith Community, was the gathering point for 200 people who came together to lift up a faith-based call for humane immigration reform.
This Faith in Action event was held on June 27, 2013, the very day that the US Senate passed a deeply flawed immigration reform bill. For Des Moines Register coverage of the Faith in Action event, click here. To view footage from the service, click here. For AFSC's response to the Senate's vote, click here.) Not to be deterred the rabbi, the United Methodist and Episcopal bishops, the Catholic priest and the faith leader from the Sikh temple spoke as if in unison to say: Welcome the stranger.
The words from the faith messengers were punctuated with the stories of young immigrants who with poise and grace shared their families trials, triumphs, and continuing challenges on their road to US citizenship.
Faith in Action is part of a summer campaign initiated by AFSC to bring diverse organizations and individuals together to advance immigration reform legislation that:
· Creates a clear path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US
· Ends mandatory detention policies
· Protects labor, civil, and human rights for all our residents
· Honors Iowa’s tradition of welcoming newcomers.
With 22 member groups the Network for Immigration Reform summer campaign promises stepped up advocacy work with Representative Tom Latham and a late July family fun rally.
As we continue our work surely the words of faith leaders will stay with us:
Bishop Trimble reminded us “Immigrants are in our families, churches, communities, workplaces. ‘They are us; and we are them.’”
Rabbi Edelman-Blank recalled his own families journey as immigrants and noted
“The opportunity we were given was fully beneficial to us and fully beneficial to the country. How can we not wish the same opportunity for others? How can we turn our backs?”
It is indeed a question by which we should all be challenged.
(For more photos from the service, click here.)