Welcoming ‘Strangers’ – What Churches Can Do

Post a Comment » Written on March 5th, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (March 5, 2009) – “In the early 1990s, Rigoberto Garcia Hernandez migrated to the United States from El Salvador. He came seeking political asylum. When I met him, I was carrying a flimsy paper sign that read Bienvenido Rigoberto.”

So begins Linda Parkyn’s article, “How Do We Welcome the Newcomer?” in the March issue of The Covenant Companion. Parkyn, who teaches Spanish at North Park University, writes from her experience of working with immigrants in her church and among university students.

Immigrants from nations as far-flung as Bosnia, Nigeria, and Indonesia have left an indelible impact on the people who have assisted them, and Parkyn offers specific suggestions for what churches can do to welcome the “strangers.”

CoverOther articles explore the complexities of immigration. Amid the political agendas and controversies surrounding the subject, it can be easy to miss out on individual stories – both from newcomers and from churches who interact with them.

“A Refuge in Iowa” by Ian Wrisley tells how members of Decorah Covenant Church assisted immigrant workers who were stranded in Postville when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers raided the local meatpacking plant. The raid was referenced by John Weborg, professor emeritus of theology at North Park Theological Seminary, in a sermon during last year’s Covenant Annual Meeting. The sermon was reproduced in the September 2008 issue of the Companion.

Samaritans at the Border” is an account from Dan Johnson, a Covenant pastor in Tucson, of how one group of Christians is responding to undocumented immigrants who are trying to enter the country.

In “Coming to a New Land,” three immigrants share their stories of adjusting to their new home in North America.

M. Daniel Carroll R. explores the question of what the Bible has to say about immigration in “Sojourners in a Strange Land,” while Joel Willitts considers instructions from the apostle Paul in this month’s Text in Context article, “Weighing the Words of Paul.”

Editor’s note: as one way of introducing new readers to the Companion, we will mail free of charge the current March issue to new subscribers who submit subscription orders during the month of March. Click here to subscribe online and pay by credit card, or download and print out the subscription form and mail it with a check for $19.95 to Covenant Companion, 5101 N. Francisco Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60625. The regular 12-month subscription will begin with the April issue.

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