A funny thing happened to a pastor friend of mine. His congregation was baptizing a family in a river that ran not far from the Hispanic church that he served. As the newly baptized members came out of the water he handed them their baptismal certificates. Afterward, in true Latino fashion, they celebrated a fiesta.
An economic migrant—a desert nomad—leads his family toward a land of promise, believing he is following the will of his Creator. And so begins the great trek for new life, survival, redemption. He will find danger, so much danger that he plans to pass his wife off as his sister. It is a trek repeated today in the heat of the Sonoran desert, in boats from Africa running ashore in southern Europe, in the hulls of boats from Fujian province to the shores of Long Island.
A Finnish theologian, forced by U.S. immigration officials to leave the country despite holding a tenured professorship at Fuller Theological Seminary, is back at the California campus after only six weeks’ absence. Whether the scholar can become a permanent resident, however, is uncertain, said a lawyer who called the dispute with government officials “a sad political fight.”
Canadian church leaders have condemned remarks of federal immigration and citizenship minister Judy Sgro, who earlier this summer called on churches to abandon the time-honored practice of providing sanctuary to people under the threat of deportation.
Last year over 200 people lost their lives as they tried to cross the border from Mexico into Arizona. They died from dehydration in the 120-degree heat of the Sonoran Desert. They died in storm drains as they tried to cross during the flash-flood season.
In January 2004 George Bush outlined a new approach to immigration. He would grant special visas to foreign workers which would be valid for three years and renewable. Undocumented immigrants now employed in the U.S. would be included in the program.Workers would be allowed to travel freely between the U.S. and their own countries.
An international expert in ecumenical and Pentecostal studies is being forced to leave the United States at the end of July because he does not fit post-9/11 visa definitions for continuing as a tenured professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, whose status as a legitimate religious institution was questioned.
My installation as pastor at a Manhattan congregation began with a festive outdoor procession weaving through public housing projects and then looping around to the parking lot near the pricey apartments and condos on the other side of the street. We wanted the procession to declare our commitment to both sides of the street.