An Invitation from the Week of Compassion Staff

“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien . . .” (Deuteronomy 26:5)

It’s one of the oldest confessions of faith in the vast collection of texts we name as scripture, and at its root is a story of migration. From the time Abraham stepped out in faith, our story of faith has been one of wanderers, migrants, slaves, tenant farmers, traders, evangelists, refugees, entrepreneurs--some legendary, others nameless, speaking a mishmash of languages, and crossing borders, sometimes invited, other times not.

But the stories of scripture are not the only sacred stories in our tradition. There are others. Stories of the lives of young men and women packed into boats and sent across the horrendous middle passage, stories of children torn from their parents escaping political violence in Central America or ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, stories of people packing into a coyote’s van, marching across the Arizona desert, hoping for new opportunity, dying of thirst and exhaustion. And, of course, where would the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) be had the Campbells not made their way across the Atlantic and stayed on the move, following the frontier of a young United States?

Interwoven into the ministry of Week of Compassion is a concern for our wandering brothers and sisters. Refugees, those displaced by natural or human disasters, those forced to move because of economic disparity. We hear the sacred stories of this part of our family almost every day. We, along with you, are called to respond. But how?

At Week of Compassion, we truly believe that we are a church made up of people who deeply love their neighbors, who deeply love their country, and who deeply long to understand one another. That’s why we want to invite you to participate in a sacred dialogue on immigration. As a Church, we are inviting all U.S. Disciples congregations to set aside some time around Columbus Day this year (October 12) to have conversations on immigration. Whatever the political positions of members of your congregation, it is important to come together as the body of Christ to have conversations with one another on this important issue that deeply affects the life and ministry of our denomination. If your congregation is unable to have these conversations in October, please find another time this year that works for you. Canadian Disciples, who celebrate Thanksgiving on October 11, are encouraged to include a prayer for immigrants to Canada during their celebrations that day. Disciples from the U.S. and Canada live in a nation of immigrants, and we live as a church of immigrants. It’s who we’ve always been and who we are today.

Please join in this important dialogue—and dare to wander with one another through one of the most important issues we face. Information and resources are available at www.disciples.org/RIM.

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This Week’s Responses 

Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Tennessee, flood relief/mission station support
Iowa, flood relief

Development and Long-Term Recovery and Rehabilitation
Asian Pacific, energy-saving project
Serbia, food security