By Chris Markert, Mission Catalyst
“That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.”
-Deuteronomy 10:19 (CEB)
As the synod continues to move forward with our strategic plan, one of our strategic priorities is Radical Hospitality, with a commitment that our synod and its congregations will be intentional about embodying hospitality.
One of the goals of this strategic priority is to increase the number of congregations that have designated themselves as AMMPARO congregations.
In Spanish, amparo means “refuge” or “protection from harm.” In 2016, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly approved a strategy to address migration and violence in Central America. The program’s full name, Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO), is our church’s response to serving those (especially children) who are forced to flee their communities because of violence, poverty, environmental displacement or lack of opportunities in Latin America.
The AMMPARO program invites ELCA congregations to become a designated AMMPARO congregation. An AMMPARO congregation commits to providing pastoral and, when appropriate, physical accompaniment, to migrants who are making the journey to the U.S. This is different than being a sanctuary congregation.
Other things your congregation can do:
- Pray regularly for those who are fleeing their homes because of violence.
- Learn more about the ELCA’s work and advocacy with immigrants and refugees. (visit LIRS or the ELCA Advocacy)
- Host educational forums and bible studies around issues concerning immigrants and refugees.