In response to the countless souls in our world who are living under the duress of war and fleeing their homes, PMC focused our Advent giving on assisting refugees here in Portland as well as abroad. In this time of national fear of strangers, we reflect on the fact that Mary and Joseph were refugees in Egypt.
PMC partnered with Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (SOAR) here in Portland to welcome 4 recently arrived refugee families by providing them with household goods and clothing. PMCers were invited to pick donation tags off our Advent giving tree and by December 27th, the Old Chapel was overflowing with items! On New Year’s Eve, LeRoy and Shirley Chupp helped take the items to the SOAR office, where they were delivered to the families by case workers. At our Christmas Eve service, a generous offering of over $26,000 was given to Mennonite Central Committee’s efforts to provide support, shelter and supplies to families in Syria, Iraq and other war-torn countries.
Thank you to everyone who donated items this year! May God bless our efforts to welcome the stranger and seek peace in our world.
On Friday evening, March 13, Detective Keith Bickford of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office talked at Portland Mennonite Church about his work with victims of labor trafficking. They are exploited; if they manage to escape, they are very vulnerable. The Radical Hospitality Team at PMC is partnering with Det. Bickford, Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans (OATH), and Immigration Counseling Services (ICS) to collect items and funds to assist. If you would like to help, a list of needed items can be found here
Please consider Joining others at PMC to Learn About Human Labor Trafficking...
Friday, March 13 / 6:30 p.m.
...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me ..."
During the Fall semester at PMC, 20-30 adults gathered each week for Sunday School to hear the Biblical stories of immigrants and how God instructs us to care for the "stranger" among us.
Following Mennonite Church USA's Radical Hospitality curriculum, we learned about the many ways the immigration system is broken -- from significant costs to taxpayers that don't improve national security, to the ways children and families are consistently separated for weeks, months, even years.
Together we recognized the privileges we have as U.S. citizens and discerned what role we could play in contributing to immigration reform. We explored how we could respond to all we had learned as individuals and as a class, as well as options for responding as a congregation.
We have formed a group to organize ongoing efforts to support immigrants, specifically immigrants who have been victims of crimes. We'll also provide support to immigrants being held in detention centers (both locally and in Tacoma, WA).
In the coming weeks , we'll be sharing more about how you can be part of extending radical hospitality and working for immigration reform.
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- more immigrants have been deported during President Obama's presidency than any other U.S. president? (2 million and counting)
- the focus on deporting immigrants with a "criminal record" includes people who simply misfiled their paperwork or those who were misled by fraudulent immigration lawyers?
- that some of the largest detention centers are for-profit businesses, regularly lobbying Congress for harsher immigration laws that directly benefit their profits?
Christians at the Border
~ Rachel Ringenberg Miller