Every fall the Mayflower Immigration Team (MIT) comes together to reflect on our work during the past year and identify our plans for the coming year. This year we feel more passionate than ever about our covenant with God and each other as an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation: To continue to seek out, welcome and deepen relationships with our immigrant brothers and sisters and to work together with them to see that immigrant justice is done.
We are excited by and grateful for new resources this year that allow us to support local asylum seekers and those seeking sanctuary in local congregations. These include a successful stewardship campaign dedicating 1% of Mayflower’s budget in the next fiscal year to these efforts as well as a generous grant from the Mayflower Foundation.
A top priority in 2019 will be to continue to provide support for three asylum seekers in our midst who currently or in the recent past have lived with Mayflower members: Philemon N. from Rwanda, Deborah M. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Emmanuel N. from Rwanda. These individuals have evolving needs that have included assistance with housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, and employment. Many Mayflower members have developed relationships with Philemon, Deborah or Emmanuel and provided social, emotional and spiritual support as they move forward with their asylum applications and their lives in Minnesota. In return, our lives at Mayflower have been enriched by all that we have learned and experienced walking by their sides.
Other MIT priorities for the coming year include expanding membership on the Immigration Team, continuing our participation in voter registration activities, and educating ourselves and others about current immigration issues at the global, national and local levels. Activities will include participating in monthly vigils at the Bishop Whipple Federal Building/Immigrant Detention Center, organizing trips to the U.S./Mexico border, supporting immigrant rights legislation at the local, state and national levels, and hosting educational events and trainings.
Our work as a Sanctuary Supporting congregation will continue. Every month, through the generous support of Mayflower members, we are able to provide up to $300 in grocery gift cards for South Minneapolis congregations with families or individuals in sanctuary.
All of our work is done in partnership with many other organizations, groups, and congregations working on immigration issues. Key partners include the Advocates for Human Rights, Isaiah, South Minneapolis Sanctuary and Sanctuary Supporting Congregations, the Minnesota UCC conference, Manos a la Obra, Mirac, and many others.
For more information about our work or to join the Mayflower Immigration Team contact Diane Haines, MIT chair.
Also, learn more about an upcoming training on March 9 for lawyers who want to learn about asylum law.