Welcome to this journey of Awakening. The Awakening Series is a year-long journey of exploration and discernment during which all people are invited to learn about current justice issues. The series is mostly educational and is intended to create a deep understanding and compassion for the world’s most marginalized individuals. It encourages a critical examination of structural, historical, sociological, and theological obstacles to the establishment of equity, wholeness, and fulfillment of all people.
Listening and learning is a critical part of our spiritual lives as we seek to meet God in our world. Throughout the Bible, the people of God hear – and wrestle with – the call to love the foreigner and welcome the stranger (Deut. 10, Lev. 19, etc.). The United States is often referred to as a “Nation of Immigrants,” which not only honors our heritage but also reminds us that our ancestors were also foreigners in a new land.
This year, we will explore this ancient, biblical call and discern how God might be calling us – individually and collectively – to love and welcome all of our neighbors. Through large group educational opportunities, small groups experiences, weekend events, and pilgrimages, we will get to know our immigrant neighbors, begin to understand the challenges they face in coming to the United States, and discern action and advocacy steps that we can take to create a better life with and for America’s newcomers.
God be with us all along the way,
Rev. Chrissy Tatum Williamson
Monthly Wednesday Night Gatherings
6:30 – 8:00 pm | Heaton Hall | childcare available in room 107
Dr. Margaret Commins, Associate Professor of Political Science at Queens University walks us through the complex language used to describe and categorize the movement of people. Join us as we learn the differences between the language of undocumented, documented, refugee, and asylum seekers; and how important these distinctions are as we seek to advocate for their justice and protection.
Unable to attend the 9/13 session? Listen below:
Foreigner Exclusion: The Ever Closing Door
Dr. Sarah Griffith, Associate Professor in the History Department at Queens University leads us in conversation about the history of immigration policy. From colonization to executive orders that change public policy, this session will help us understand historical trends in our nation’s sordid history of welcoming newcomers.
Unable to attend the 10/4 session? Listen below:
Understanding the Laws
Immigration attorneys help us to understand the difference between immigration law and political rhetoric. In this session, we will learn about current immigration laws, legal options for immigrants, and how to know the difference between public statements and legitimate changes to policy.
Deliberative Dialogue: Immigration Reform
Join us as students from Queens University lead us in round-table, values-based conversations around immigration reform. These conversations will be structured upon techniques created by the Kettering Foundation to help encourage and cultivate meaningful dialogue around potentially divisive topics from the perspective of our shared values.
Reality, Myth, & Media: Discovering the Humans Behind the Headlines
Can you tell the difference between fake news and real news? Dr. Amanda Martinez, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies & Sociology at Davidson College helps us break down myth from reality as it relates to the movement of people across American borders.
Advocacy & Action
After learning about the challenges immigrants face when they come to our country, you may be feeling ready to get involved and do something to make a difference. Join us for an evening with representatives from several agencies around town working to create positive change for our nations newcomers.
Panel Conversation: Embracing Radical Hospitality
Come and hear from a panel of folks who are walking the walk. During our time together we will learn from communities who have opened their doors to immigrants. We will learn about challenges and transformations that go along with embracing radical hospitality.
Real People, Real Stories
For many of us immigration is just an “issue” that we hear about on the news. Come and get to know the folks whose lives and families are impacted by immigration policy and the spirit of welcome in American politics, communities, and churches.
Celebration of Heritage and Journey
After eight months of learning about immigration and discerning how God may be calling us to action on behalf of our neighbors, we want to celebrate the journey of the ATII series. In this spirited gathering, we will hear from some who have engaged in small group work related to this series and we will celebrate our history as descendants of immigrants and newcomers.
Sunday Faith Forums
9:45 – 10:45am | Heaton Hall
Embracing Hopelessness with Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre
Interfaith Panel with Imam Ronald Shaheed, Rabbi Asher Knight, and Rev. Ben Boswell
February 18 & March 25
Making Room join Chrissy and Ben for conversations related to our Lenten study of Dr. Christine Pohl’s book, Making Room, Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition
Go Deeper with Awakening to Immigrant Injustice
They Take Our Jobs: and 20 Other Myths About Immigration
Sept 24 – Oct 29
Join the Explorers class on Sunday mornings, 9:45 – 10:45am in room 255, this fall as they read and discuss the book They Take Our Jobs by Aviva Chomsky. For more information, contact Jenny Martella.
ACLU Court Observer Training
Throughout the year the ACLU offers training that educates and equips us to attend Master Calendar hearings in Charlotte’s immigration court. By attending these hearings, citizens are able to observe and report back to the ACLU, which expands the breadth of knowledge and information available to this institution, whose work directly benefits the lives of immigrants in our city. For more information, contact Lisa Bambach.
Foreign Food Group
Sharing meals together is one of the most ancient Christian practices. Doing so in some of Charlotte’s many immigrant-owned restaurants is also one of the most significant ways that we can support immigrants with our purchasing power. So, let’s gather together around the table and share a meal! For more information, contact Rev. Chrissy Williamson at 704.334.7232 x115.
Awakening Book Group
Are you interested in reading one of the books from this year’s recommended reading list? Let me know! Groups will be formed throughout the year; if you’re interested, contact Rev. Chrissy Williamson at 704.334.7232 x115.
Sunday Mornings with the LIFE Class
Join the LIFE Class on the following Sunday mornings. For more information contact Eleanor Brawley.
October 8: Rev. Chrissy Williamson leads a discussion on Dr. Miguel De La Torre’s book, Politics of Jesús, which rejects the Eurocentric Jesus in favor of an Hispanic Jesús who identifies with the Latino/a experience of marginalization and disenfranchisement, and who works for social change.
November 12 & 19: Mr. Ed Hinson leads a two-week conversation about the notion of welcoming the stranger.
Coming this Spring…
Pilgrimage Opportunities (Dates & Locations will be posted in January 2018)
Why do People Move?: Arts and Advocacy Conference on Immigration (Date TBD)
This Spring MPBC joins with the Stan Greenspon Center and other partners to host the first annual arts and advocacy conference on Immigration. Everyone is invited to this event, which will educate us about immigration issues and celebrate our cultural diversity through music, photography, dance, poetry, and food!
There are so many great resources for learning more about immigrant injustice. The following is a list of resources for you to consider as supplements for your personal journey of awakening this year.
Religion & Theology
The U.S. Immigration Crisis | Miguel De La Torre | 2016
Politics of Jesús | Miguel De La Torre | 2015
Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition | Christine Pohl | 1999
Fear of the Other | William Willimon | 2016
Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate | Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang Yang | 2009
On Immigration: Surveying Biblical Teaching on Issues of Immigration | Chris Harbin | 2015
Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice | Ched Myers and Matthew Colwell | 2012
Reading the Bible with the Damned (Chapter 9: “Following Jesus, the Good Coyote: Reading Paul with Undocumented Immigrants”) | Bob Ekblad |2005
Ethnic America: A History | Thomas Sowell | 1981
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States | Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz | 2015
They Take Our Jobs: and 20 Other Myths About Immigration | Aviva Chomsky | 2007
Latino Protestants in America | Aida Ramos, Gerardo Marti, and Mark Mulder | 2017
Leviticus 19:33-34, Deuteronomy 10: 17-19, 1 Peter 2:11-17, Hebrews 13:1-2, Matthew 25:34-35