ABHMS launches immigration-assistance initiative, pilot in partnership with ABCMNY

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/18/17)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is pleased to announce its initiative to assist vulnerable immigrants who are currently subject to deportation, harassment and increased anxiety, as they seek to continue living their lives during rapidly changing and uncertain times in the United States. The pilot will launch in New York City in partnership with American Baptist Churches of Metro New York (ABCMNY).

“Transforming and changing lives and our communities is one of our ABHMS mission focus areas. This calls us to stand with the vulnerable during these most turbulent political and socially challenging times,” says the Rev. Dr. Brenda Halliburton Williams, ABHMS director of Intercultural Ministries. “The strangers among us, the Bible says, are those who sojourn with us. The people of God and American Baptists are commanded, as Leviticus 19:33-34 indicates, to not do them harm, to treat them as the native among us, to love them as we love ourselves because we were all once strangers.

“In addition,” she continues, “guided by the biblical ideal of the Beloved Community, American Baptists are being called to find just ways to walk alongside the stranger and engage in ministries that ensure their free movement in this country. The Metro New York immigration pilot initiative is one of many new steps in that direction.”

The initiative will provide moral, relational and legal support from New York-based agencies engaged in immigrant protections for individuals and families attempting to navigate the U.S.’s changing immigration policies. The initiative will also seek to connect U.S. citizens with those possessing tentative immigration status, to accompany them during this vulnerable time in their lives. By leveraging local, regional, national and global agencies’ resources with relational and spiritual capital, this initiative seeks to make tangible differences in the quality of life and the security of immigrant residents living in the New York City area.

The pilot will offer information, resources and legal clinics in the New York metropolitan area. Although the project remains under development, specific resource providers known at this time include Church World Service and The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC.

Says Dr. Cheryl Dudley, executive minister of ABCMNY: “As American Baptists, ABCMNY seeks to regularly and actively recognize God’s presence and call in our lives, to live faithfully, grow in discipleship, joyfully serve God, to do justice with kindness, and to have our and others’ experiences of the world transformed.”

Following the pilot, ABHMS plans to continue the initiative in other U.S. cities.

One of the mission priorities for ABCMNY (2017-22) is “to encourage prophetic radical hospitality among our churches, to welcome and recognize the stranger as Christ into the family of faith.” This initiative will, in part, address this call among its members.

For more information about the pilot, visit www.abcmny.org.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.