Who Is My Neighbor? A Faith Conversation on Immigration. Project Director: Danielle Short, Human Rights Director, American Friends Service Committee

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Who Is My Neighbor? A Faith Conversation on Immigration Project Director: Danielle Short, Human Rights Director, American Friends Service Committee Writers: Rev. Jann Halloran, Chair of the Justice Commission,
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Who Is My Neighbor? A Faith Conversation on Immigration Project Director: Danielle Short, Human Rights Director, American Friends Service Committee Writers: Rev. Jann Halloran, Chair of the Justice Commission, Colorado Council of Churches Georgina Millán, Operations Manager, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Chris Sealy, Denver Film and Digital Steve Sealy, Denver Film and Digital Danielle Short, Human Rights Director, American Friends Service Committee Dr. Katherine Turpin, Assistant Professor of Religious Education, Iliff School of Theology Marija Weeden, Policy Fellow, The Bell Policy Center Funded by: Colorado Council of Churches, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Office of the American Friends Service Committee, First Plymouth Church Foundation, Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Iliff School of Theology, Presbytery of Plains and Peaks, United Methodist Church Women s Division, General Board of Global Ministries, General Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Committee on Relief & the General Board of Global Hispanic Ministries. August 2008 DISCUSSION GUIDE WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration A joint project of the Colorado Council of Churches, American Friends Service Committee, Bell Policy Center, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and Iliff School of Theology Acknowledgments: Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan for the initial conception of this project. Coloradans For Immigrant Rights, a project of AFSC, for permission to use parts of their Immigration & Our Faith: A Toolkit for Your Community. Ricardo Romero with Al Frente de la Lucha in Greeley, CO, for arranging for interviews with community members affected by the Swift Raid in December Lisa Durán, Executive Director of Rights for All People / Derechos Para Todos, for arranging interviews with RAP/DPT members. All of the other people who agreed to give interviews, especially Mark Harris who drove to Denver from Grand Junction for his interview. Chris and Steve Sealy for going above and beyond the call of duty. Gerry Henry, Graphics Production Coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee for discussion guide design. Interfaith Worker Justice for permission to use faith statements on immigration from their curriculum, For Once You Were a Stranger: Immigration Through the Lens of Faith. Jami Ryba, intern at American Friends Service Committee, for support and research. Jordan T. García for stepping in to coordinate final details for this project. Larry Strauss, Director of Communications at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver, CO for the cover design. Minsun Ji, Executive Director of El Centro Humanitario Para los Trabajadores, for arranging interviews with El Centro members and for film footage. Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, for film footage. St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, CO, for granting permission to film their forum on immigration. Tony Heriza, Director of Educational Outreach at the American Friends Service Committee for providing feedback on discussion guide drafts and footage. Univision Colorado for film footage. This discussion guide is intended as a companion to the DVD Who Is My Neighbor?: A Faith Conversation on Immigration. To order the DVD, please contact Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan, Colorado Council of Churches Executive, , 3690 Cherry Creek S. Dr., Denver, CO Or visit Colorado Council of Churches, Copyright Permission to copy this material for noncommercial educational use is freely granted, provided the source is credited. Contents Introduction 1 How to Use this Curriculum 2 Session One: We Are All Strangers in the Land of Egypt 5 Session Two: What Does the Lord Require of You? 8 Session Three: Perfect Love Casts Out Fear 11 Session Four: The Good Samaritan: Who Is My Neighbor? 14 Handouts: Handout A: Immigration Timeline (3 pages) 17 Handout B: Immigrant Demographic Statistics (2 pages) 20 Handout C: Further Reflection for Session One 22 Handout D: Immigration Law (2 pages) 23 Handout E: Faith Positions on Immigration (7 pages) 25 Handout F: Further Reflection for Session Two 34 Handout G: Frequently Asked Questions (3 pages) 35 Handout H: Further Reflection for Session Three 39 Handout I: Case Studies (2 pages) 40 Handout J: What is Comprehensive Immigration Reform? (2 pages) 42 Handout K: Colorado Interfaith Pledge on Immigration 44 Appendices: Appendix A: Additional Resources Articles, Books & Films 45 Appendix B: Glossary of Terms 47 Appendix C: Who to Know in the Immigration Debate Faith Based, Colorado Immigrant Advocacy, National Immigrant Advocacy, Research Institutions 49 Appendix D: Individuals Interviewed in Who Is My Neighbor? 58 Appendix E: Who Is My Neighbor? Learning Goals 60 Feedback form 61 Introduction Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, A congregation was divided over whether or not to welcome some new immigrants into their congregation. Everyone knew that most of the new arrivals were undocumented. In the midst of their struggle they decided to turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For several weeks they studied how Jesus included the children, the women, the Samaritans, the rich, the poor. He seemed to always include those whom others found reason to exclude. Finally, one young woman in her frustration stood up and said, I don t care what Jesus says, I don t want those people in my church. It seems to me that for those who call themselves Christian, for those who claim to follow Jesus, the primary bottom line question on the issue of immigration is not a question of legality; the bottom line is, Do we care what Jesus says? When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied to love God and the second is to love our neighbor. When asked, Who Is My Neighbor? he responded by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan in which Jesus made the excluded Samaritan the hero, while the two religious faithful, concerned about legality, walked by on the other side. Jesus was saying that everyone, even Samaritans, are your neighbors. The purpose of this curriculum is to encourage and enable all of us who claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior to discover where our faith intersects with the issue of immigration. As people of faith, we can not approach this issue ONLY from our U.S. citizen perspective. We must also view the complex nature of this issue through our faith lens. I pray God s blessing on your group as you explore the questions, Who Is My Neighbor? and Do we care what Jesus says? Peace and grace, Rev. Dr. Jim Ryan Council Executive Colorado Council of Churches WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration 1 How to use this curriculum This resource is designed for use in four minute sessions. Each class session blends DVD-based learning videos with conversation and reflection in small groups. It can be adapted for any size group, as long as all participants can comfortably see the screen and have space to move into smaller conversation circles between videos. Prior to each session, we suggest the facilitator review the videos and course materials so that adaptations and preparations can be made for your specific class. Although the curriculum was designed for use as a whole, each session can stand alone as an individual unit if you are not able to reserve four sessions, or if participants drop in and out of the class. Whenever possible, we encourage you to move through all four sessions as they are designed to work as a coherent whole. Please note that the Introduction video from Lesson 1 can be used as a promotional tool within your congregation. We hope that this resource will allow your group to engage in a thoughtful conversation on the challenges faced by Christian people in Colorado who hope to respond faithfully to the current realities of immigration. Setting the Tone: The publicizing of a class, spirit of welcome, seating arrangements, and other seemingly unimportant logistics can have a surprising impact, either positive or negative, on the success of any educational event. Take time to be sure that people are aware of the location and timing of the sessions, feel welcomed and comfortable once they arrive, and have reasonable opportunity to know the other participants names if the group does not regularly meet together. Any attention you can give to such details of hospitality frees your class to attend to the important work of learning. Starting and ending each session with a time of focused prayer can steep the learning and conversation of your class in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. We have offered suggested opening and closing prayers for your use. Please feel free to adapt these prayers to the style and language that best suits your denominational and congregational traditions. Whatever form of prayer you use, the holy ground of teaching and learning is greatly served by inviting participants to attune their hearts and minds to God each time you meet. Covenant of Conversation: One of the difficult realities of the immigration debate in our current culture is that they often occur in an uncivil, unbalanced, and occasionally hate-filled manner. Many of the participants of your class may be concerned that this form of debate will be replicated in your local church context. In order to encourage deep sharing and careful listening, take some time at the outset of your class for the group to covenant together about the ways they hope to engage in conversation. Such covenants are strongest when the participants name the values and behaviors they feel are most important to create a space for heart-felt interaction. 2 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration Some examples of these commitments might be: We know that each voice is important in discerning the movement of God in our midst. Therefore, we will listen carefully and respectfully to one another, seeking clarification of each other s ideas prior to formulating our response to them. We will speak honestly about our own beliefs and understandings, using I statements to express our concerns and disagreements when they arise. We will respond with compassion when someone is struggling with ideas that we find easy to live with. If we offend or are offended by another person in the group, we will seek reconciliation with that person rather than avoidance, dismissal, or retribution. We will remain open to God s movement among us, and be willing to be surprised by our conversation with each other. Troubleshooting Guide for Facilitators Conflict will arise in any good discussion, particularly on a topic with as many different perspectives as immigration. Conflict can be especially daunting in a church classroom where many participants may equate Godly love with the absence of conflict. However, with good facilitation, different perspectives and values can be essential building blocks in a learning environment. If a discussion becomes heated, you have several options to assure that a constructive conversation can continue: Remember that conflict can be an aid to learning, and resist the urge to smother it immediately. Do not be afraid to slow down the conversation. Note aloud the conflict, and invite everyone to breathe deeply for a moment before continuing the conversation. Have participants write their own position on a note card before continuing the conversation. This may allow them to listen more carefully without formulating their own response at the same time. If the conflict centers on differing values, try to help participants name and clarify the values involved. A second step may be to have participants name in I statement language the personal experiences that inform their values. Often understanding what s at stake for another person helps us listen to them better. If the discussion is dissolving into hair-splitting, grandstanding, private conversations, or personal attack, you may need to change course. You may work together or in pairs to list points on which the participants agree and disagree. This provides a shared moment from which to move on to the next point even if there is no resolution to the conflict. In two or three columns on the board have the group list evidence or arguments for each of the positions present in the class. If persons want to debate evidence offered WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration 3 for another position, reformulate the point to list it as positive evidence in their own position s column. Again, without needing to fully resolve the conflict, this can soften hard-and-fast distinctions into points of relative disagreement. If a personal attack does occur, as the facilitator you have the responsibility to intervene. Here are some ways you can address such a situation: Note that the atmosphere has shifted from the one the group had hoped to maintain. Remind participants of the initial covenant for conversation. Remind the class to use I rather than you statements. If participants make globalizing statements, such as You can t be a Christian and believe that., note that people of good faith come down on multiple sides of the issue. Explore which parts of the Christian tradition might support several of those positions. Don t ignore disparaging, offensive, or discriminatory remarks. Although letting such comments pass unnoticed may reduce visible conflict, it signals a lack of safe space to participants. Instead, model respectful intervention: What you said made me feel uncomfortable. Although perhaps you didn t mean this, it could be interpreted as saying If the class is coalescing against one participant: Let s take the focus off of Debbie for a moment. Can someone present another reasonable point of view that would challenge the emerging consensus in the room? 4 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration SESSION ONE: We Are All Strangers in the Land of Egypt Focus: To explore immigration as part of our historical and spiritual identity. Focus texts: 1. Exodus 23:9 You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt. 2. Leviticus 19: When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the LORD am your God. Jewish Publication Society translation Preparation: Photocopy handouts A, B and C Set up an informal timeline in the room where you will meet. Place markers of centuries on index cards along the wall, making one end of the room the 1500s and the other end of the room 2000s. Set up newsprint, markers. Set up DVD player and TV. Gather: Introduce session (8-10 minutes) Welcome Opening prayer: God of History, You have walked with your people throughout time as they have moved about the earth in search of shelter, food, love and work. Walk with us this hour, as we consider together how we should respond to your children on the move in this day and age. We pray in the name of Jesus, who walked among us long ago, and walks alongside us still today, Amen. Take a few moments to describe the format of the curriculum and topics that will be discussed throughout the four sessions. WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration 5 Ask participants to introduce themselves and also to share their maternal grandmother s maiden name. This reminds the group members of their own heritage and also allows the group to hear the various ethnicities represented in the room.* Either review your suggested ground rules for conversation or take some time to establish a Covenant of Conversation as described in How to Use This Curriculum. Show Introduction Video Warm-up Discussion: What do you think of when I say the word immigration? Allow group members to give brief responses to hear a range of ideas. Record on newsprint or whiteboard if you like. In preparation for the next video, have a participant read Exodus 23:9 and Leviticus 19:34 aloud. Show Video One: An Alien People, A Nation of Immigrants Activity One: (10 minutes) Pass out Handout A (Immigration Timeline). Help your class identify some of the waves of immigration and immigration laws that were mentioned in the clip. Activity: Have participants share in pairs their own family s history in relationship to this. Have each participant choose their earliest known ancestor in territory now the U.S. By looking at the Immigration Timeline handout, have participants arrange themselves along the timeline you set up on the wall according to their earliest known ancestor. Have them share with a neighbor briefly what they know about that ancestor. Re-arrange themselves in terms of when they or their ancestors came to Colorado. Show Video Two: Who Are the Immigrants in Colorado Today? Activity Two: (10 minutes) On newsprint or a whiteboard, record participants current connections to more recent immigrants in Colorado in several categories: familial relationships, daily interpersonal interactions, impersonal direct contact, non face-to-face ties through commerce/service industries. Distribute Handout B (Immigration Demographic Statistics) and give participants a moment to read through it. Where are their daily experiences confirmed or challenged by the information presented in the handout? Show Video Three: What Are We Called to Do? Activity Three: (5 minutes) Discuss why it has been so difficult to live out the call to welcome the stranger as a nation, in our history. 6 WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration Further Reflection: If you are going to use the optional reflection page for participants to use between classes, distribute Handout C (Further Reflection for Session One). Closing Prayer: Our God, you have given us in your word the stories of persons who needed to leave their homelands Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Moses. You have chosen that the life of Jesus be filled with events of unplanned travel and flight from enemies. You have shown us through the modeling of Jesus how we are called to relate to persons from different nations and cultures. You have called us to be teachers of your word. We ask you, our God, to open our minds and hearts to the challenge and invitation to model your perfect example of love. Amen (adapted from Justice for Immigrants website: *Dr. Vincent Harding, recently retired Iliff professor, renowned civil rights activist and editor of the PBS series Eyes on the Prize, often uses this teaching technique to help his students connect to their own histories. WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? A Faith Conversation on Immigration 7 SESSION TWO: What Does the Lord Require of You? Focus: To explore the faith concept of justice in relationship to past and current immigration laws and movements in the United States. Focus texts: 1. Micah 6:8 (NRSV) He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do Justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. 2. Isaiah 65: 17-18, For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.they shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD and their descendants as well. Preparation: Photocopy handouts D, E, and F Set up DVD player and TV Gather: Introduce session (5 minutes) Opening Prayer: God of justice, You have called us to walk humbly with you, To share in your work of justice, To partake in your love of mercy. Help us to live boldly in the ways you have called good. Amen
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