Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.
-Genesis 12, March 12, 2017 Lectionary reading
On March 12, the second Sunday in Lent, many of our synod’s congregations observed our second Refugee and Migrant Sunday. Here’s how some SWCA Synod churches heeded the call to welcome the stranger.
Ascension, Thousand Oaks created a video with LIRS footage and their own of Deacon Lam, a refugee from Vietnam, thanking the congregation for their support. Pastor Steve Herder’s sermon for that Sunday is available here.
Ascension’s Global Ministries Team and Community Concerns Committee have formed a new team, the “Matthew 25:35 Outreach Team,” to work with interfaith partnerships in their community on all ministries related to immigrants and refugees.
Pastor Amy Beveridge of Bethel, Templeton preached on “Empty Cabins, Blueberries and Broccoli: Some Stories about Immigration.”
Of all the various issues that have arisen for us as a nation in the few years that I have been a pastor, worries over the plight of the immigrant have seemed to captivate this congregation more than other kinds of concerns. I find myself answering questions during coffee hour or having parking lot conversations about the new rhetoric around the immigrant and refugee in our country — perhaps because it is so personal to us here in California.
Her sermon is available here.
First Lutheran, Torrance played the Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service video, “The Journey” as well as lifting up their First Lutheran School’s relationship to their sister school in El Salvador (above).
Your congregation can observe a “Welcome the Stranger” Refugee and Immigrant Sunday any time! For speakers or resources, contact Rev. Alexia Salvatierra at email@example.com or (213) 219-2449. A prayer for both liturgical and private use is available for download here. More resources are available on the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) Refugee Sunday website.