By Sandra Lopez, from World Church News
Migration is an issue that has seriously affected El Salvador for many years. As a country from which a large number of people make the perilous journey to the US every year, the new US administration has caused great concern. As well as the rhetoric of building a wall between Mexico and the US to keep out mainly Latin American migrants, the Trump administration is also planning to deport a million illegal migrants with criminal records.
The Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador has been discussing migration – both as a sending country and as one that will soon be receiving a significant number of deportees who could be returning with a newly found freedom to carry out criminal activities. The Church is also discussing the fluctuations in national church membership resulting from migration to the US.
In the US, the United Methodist Church is deeply involved in migration issues both in the region and globally, and is using four strands to focus its work with migrants: the right to remain, the right to safe passage, the right to hospitality and the right to dignified repatriation. The Methodist Church in El Salvador’s Assembly has passed a resolution that local churches should offer support to migrants. From now on, during the annual assembly, the ministers of each church will report on what their church has been doing to support migrants or to raise awareness of their situation in the Church and community.
On my recent visit to El Salvador, I spoke about what the Methodist Church in Britain is doing in collaboration with European partners to support refugees. I explained about the work the Joint Public Issues Team is doing to lobby the government, to resource Christians in the UK with the tools they need to raise awareness of migrant and refugee issues and to see the human face of migration. I shared the A Very British Nativity video, which depicts parallels between the nativity story and the story of so many refugees arriving in the UK. I also shared how the Methodist Church in Britain has been encouraging local churches to support at least one refugee family or individual. It was good to be able to tell of how migrant Christians are revitalising and reviving our churches in the UK.
For more information, please contact Sandra Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.