We are a people who believe that God migrated to the person Jesus, who then became a refugee in Egypt. Beginning with Adam and Eve, the world’s first immigrants, the Bible is replete with stories of our faith ancestors being called and sent to lands unknown. The story of our faith is told through the lens of immigration and immigrants but we often miss the implication this has on our spiritual practices and faith tradition.
The information provided below will help worship planners and individuals incorporate these stories as well as the biblical mandates to love the stranger and work for justice for the oppressed into everyday worship and prayer.
The Office of Immigration Issues welcomes your contribution to our effort to gather worship materials that lift up the immigrant experience. If you have materials to offer, please contact Melissa G. Davis at Melissa.Davis@pcusa.org or 502-569-5007.
Trinity Presbyterian Church hosted a service of worship and celebration of the Lord’s Supper at a meeting for the Tres Rios Presbytery. The worship service lifted up immigration as a concern of the people of God. Access the bulletin here(PDF), which contains a call to worship and prayer of confession.
Presbyterian minister and seminary professor Rev. Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes created a worship service that can adapted for your local context. He did this is response to reading an article in the NY Times in 2012 about unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexico/U.S. border. Explore these resources on his website.
This booklet(PDF) was used for a special worship service, El Via Crucis The Way of the Cross, in El Paso, Texas. It includes Scripture and reflections, as well as responses that could be adapted to fit your local community.
The hymn, Abraham Journeyed to a New Country, was written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Discipleship Resources/UpperRoom Books, 2009) and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship (Geneva Press, 2000). She is the co-pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. This congregation includes first generation immigrants from Brazil, England, Ghana, India, Scotland and South Africa, and provides space for a Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship.
Creed for Immigrants by Jose Luis Casal, General Missioner of Tres Rios Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Scripture for reflection
The DREAM Sabbath 2011 Toolkit was created by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a partnership of faith-based organizations committed to just immigration reform. While the Toolkit was created to assist with lifting up the DREAM Act and urging its passage so that undocumented young people brought to the U.S. without documentation by their parents would have a pathway to citizenship, it contains theological reflections, links to online videos from faith leaders, and sermon starters that will assist you preparing a meaningful reflection for worship or other gathering.
I was a Stranger and you Welcomed Me by Sojourners.
Becoming the Church Together by the North Carolina Council of Churches.
The Immigration Debate: What’s a Christian to Think by the Thoughtful Christian.
Strangers in the Land by Sojourners.