This past season in the lectionary reading from Luke we remembered the flight of Jesus, Joseph, and Mary to Egypt. This is a story with which many refugees and immigrants in our communities can closely identify.
This year I along with almost every other evangelical denominational head signed the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform. It is my hope that these principles will be of benefit across our province; providing guidance to the creation of laws in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010 there are 38.5 million immigrants (12.5% of our total population) in the U.S.
The United States is in a moment of transition. Of these 38.5 million immigrants, it is estimated that 11.5 million are undocumented.
It is estimated that by 2050 the United States will, for the first time in its history, be a nation with no demographic majority.
This moment of transition and the possibility of immigration reform presents us with a unique window of opportunity to minister to the nations in our midst.
Immigrants are bringing unprecedented life and growth to the Church. In our own family, we have seen the rapid growth of Caminemos Juntos! which already includes over 60 Hispanic congregations.
A multi-denominational Immigration Coalition, spearheaded by World Relief, has formed to start legal aid centers in churches around the United States to meet the existing needs of the immigrants as well as to prepare for the possible flood of the millions of immigrants who would need legal assistance in the case of reform.
I am challenging the Anglican Church in North America to seize this unique moment. We have joined this coalition and would like to start 30 legal aid centers around the United States that lead to new church plants.
How can you be a part of this initiative? There are 5 ways that everyone can be involved:
• Host a legal aid center and new Hispanic church
• Intern as a missionary church planter/legal aid with Caminemos Juntos!
• Give financially to help start this new initiative
• Pray and advocate for immigrants
For more information on these ways of getting involved please see www.AnglicanImmigrantInitiative.com.
The Most Reverend Robert Duncan