Arizona law and Phoenix conventionby Evan Oswald, Glendale, Ariz.
Our Seekers Sunday school class of the Bethel College Mennonite Church of North Newton, Kan., has been discussing and reflecting upon the plight of immigrants whose fears are increased by the Arizona law, which many label the "pursuit bill." We read and expressed appreciation for the Mennonite Church USA delegation to Phoenix statement (August): "We desire and are committed to the steps that lead to one church, living the vision of the Lamb of God gathering persons from all tribes, nations and ethnic groups into one inclusive church."
One member, quoting Millard Lind, pointed to the Decalogue's statement of God’s steadfast love extended to aliens, even to Nineveh, Israel's traditional enemy. "You shall love the alien as yourself, for you were an alien in the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 19:34).
In view of the immigrant and alien situation in Arizona, we have pondered statements and letters from Latinos who fear this bill and who do not want to be in Arizona or attend a convention in Phoenix. We reflected upon a statement by Yvonne Diaz, executive director of Iglesia Menonita Hispana, who concludes, "It is not safe for Latinos to be in Arizona."
A member also emphasized studying the thoughts and conclusions from Phoenix churches who deal daily with this issue as found in the June 15 issue of the Christian Century.
We have been serious and prayerful as we pondered the words of Jesus in Luke 4 regarding Jesus’ mission statement: "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor ... and to proclaim release to the captives."
In our discussion, the following ideas were raised with regard to the 2013 conference:
1. Plan the entire conference around the theme of immigration ("Who is My Neighbor?").
2. On Peace Sunday in our churches, invite pastors to give sermons on immigration as well as invite Hispanic Mennonite congregations to worship with us or worship at their church.
3. Listen and learn from Latino/Hispanic congregations.
4. Raise $400,000 above the convention budget if the convention is held elsewhere. Use the money to support immigrants.
5. By not having the conference in Phoenix, this would enhance communication and could nurture meaningful conversation and problem solving.
6. Have a Christian Peacemaker Team presence for each Hispanic person at Phoenix.
7. Plan meaningful witness actions if the conference is in Phoenix or elsewhere.
8. Wherever the conference location, we suggest attendees support service workers by tipping generously —up to 40 or 50 percent.
9. Our question: "What kind of public policy/systemic change should the church seek and support?" We encourage readers to see Mennonite Central Committee websites for further ideas.—21 members of the Seekers
The Mennonite is full of immigration news, especially since Arizona passed the harsh immigration law that raises many questions about whether Mennonite Church USA should hold its 2013 assembly in Arizona as previously planned before SB 1070 came out.
In 1971, I was at Navajo Community College on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona, helping establish the first Native American-controlled college in the United States and Canada. One day I was eating with some Navajo faculty friends when one of them (a Ph.D. from Ohio State University) put his fist under my nose and said, "Oswald, as soon as we can, we are going to send you Anglos packing back to Europe."
History is often a hard teacher. It has shown that we are occupiers of this land. We are illegal immigrants. In the name of the King, gold, God, land and slavery we came. It was posed as a directive from God (manifest destiny) that we Europeans should take over this land for our ever-increasing European hordes.
When we are considering the immigration issues, in all honesty, let us Europeans remember that we are not only illegal immigrants, we are occupiers. And we Mennonites are part of the European hordes that so happily homesteaded on the lands Native Americans were forced to flee from. The apology ("Mennonites Apologize to Native Americans," October) is only one small apology. Mennonites in the United States and Canada owe Native Americans many such apologies.
Associated Issue: A bridge builder - October 2010
Associated Article: MC USA to send delegation to Arizona
- Why we pay attention to Jesus
- A different way to possess land
- O little town of Bethlehem
- Humility, humus and humor
- Young adult story collectors
- The most meaningful time of life
- It matters who tells the story
- A day for justice
- The light of the world
News stories, digests and Meno Acontecer
- Remembering Glen Lapp
- Executive Board "leaning toward" Phoenix
- Christmas counterpoint on the far side of the world
- A Veterans Day lesson for this third-grader
- $10.40 for peace
- Mennonite racial/ethnic leaders to meet in January
- One hundred things lighter
- Three Sister Care seminars draw 122
- Belarus immigrant dies
- MCC service workers invest in their communities
- Third Lausanne gathering nets Capetown Commitment
- An introduction to Pittsburgh, site of Convention 2011
- Training leaders brings celebration and challenges
- MC Canada promotes peace through bus ads
- Two Palestinians killed, four families homeless
- The Mennonite's 2011 Photo Contest
- ¡Bienvenidos al Meno Acontecer de Diciembre, 2010!
- Educación menonita Diciembre
- Seminario Bíblico Anabautista Hispano - Diciembre
- SeBAH firma convenio
- IMH Junta General
- Conferencia de UCIM
- Arca de Salvación Fort Myers
- Boda en Fort Myers
- Búsqueda Pastoral en Canadá
- Casa Publicadora y Tercer Camino se unen
- De la Junta Ejecutiva de Mennonite Church USA
- El CCM GL busca Director Ejecutivo
- ¿Pittsburg 2011? ¡Allí vamos!
- Sección de Reflexiones pastorales: Del pastor Andrés Gallardo
- Del Pastor Samuel Morán: 12ª Parte
- Del doctor Nuñez
- ¡Bienvenidos al Meno Acontecer de enero, 2011!
- ¡Perspectiva Diferente!
- Consulta de MEA origina nueva colaboración
- Material de Escuela Dominical para adultos
- Una lección inesperada
- Instructivo del CCM sobre Reclutamiento
- De las Iglesias Menonitas área del CIMH
- Proceso de discernimiento
- ¿Pittsburgh, Pa., 2011? ¡Allí vamos!!!
- Hilos que Sanan: Una historia de Colombia ...
- Reflexión del pastor Andrés Gallardo ... VENCIENDO EL RECHAZO
- Del doctor Nuñez - Enero
- What child is this?
- Lessons from the teachers in my life
- First things first: The first share of the crops
- Mysteries of the flesh
- Therapy junkies in the shadows
- The American religious experience
- The future, here and now
- December reviews
- Why do women say no?