Who we are:
The Anglican Immigrant Initiative of the ACNA equips Anglican congregations to to serve and reach under-resourced immigrants using the unique and timely tool of immigration legal-aid. As churches reach out to meet immigrants’ practical legal needs, they have opportunities to also minister to the spiritual needs of immigrants, though evangelism, welcoming them into their own fellowship and even starting of new immigrant congregations.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, there are 38.5 million immigrants (12.5% of the total population) in the U.S.
It is estimated that of this group, 12 million are under-resourced and in need of help navigating a confusing legal system in which they are often taken advantage of by unlicensed help.
Additionally, due to the unstable nature of immigration law in the USA, many immigrants live with deep uncertainty about the future of their lives and families.
We believe these needs presents the ACNA with a unique opportunity for mission and partnership with immigrant brothers and sisters and to preach the Gospel to the Nations who have come to us.
We believe our work fulfills the commands of the Scriptures:
God tells us throughout the Scriptures that he loves and has a special concern for the immigrant (Deut 10:18, Ps 146:9), and he commands his people to do the same (Lev 19:33-34). God commanded the Israelites to treat the foreign-born the same as they treated native-born Israelites (Ex 12:49), but he also instituted special provisions for immigrants, along with other vulnerable groups such as orphans and widows (Deut 24:19-21, Mal 3:5).
In the New Testament, Jesus, who as a child was forced to flee as a refugee to Egypt, makes clear in the parable of the Good Samaritan that God’s command to love our neighbor includes, specifically, migrants in need (Lk 10:25-37). He instructs us to welcome the stranger, for in doing so we are welcoming Christ himself (Mt 25:31-46).
Who else is a Part of this Church-Based Immigration Legal-Aid Movement?
The Anglican Immigrant Initiative is part of a larger multi-denominational movement called the Immigration Alliance. For information on the Alliance see: www.theimmigrationalliance.org.
Are Immigrants Part of the Anglican Church in North America?
The ACNA includes immigrants and immigrant congregations from all over the world. Many of our fastest growing churches are immigrant congregations, as is the case for most evangelical denominations in North America. We have Burmese, Hispanic, Korean, Nigerian, Sudanese and Chinese congregations, to name a few groups.
However, many of the immigrants that surround our churches are not involved in a church. Often the cultural and personal difficulty of changing countries results in Christian immigrants giving up on finding a church. Furthermore, some portion of immigrants to the USA come from non-Christian backgrounds. “Reaching North America with the transforming love of Christ” must include the mission of ministering both to the Anglican immigrants who naturally shadow the doors of our churches and those immigrants who might never come to a church unless we extend the love of Christ to them.
I want to be involved, how do I start?
There are five ways to be involved:
Learn and help your congregation learn about immigrants, immigration, and "welcoming the stranger" in our midst
Host a immigrant legal aid center
Intern as a legal aid missionary intern
Giving financially towards this initiative
Pray for immigrants in your community and throughout the USA and Canada.
Contact us for more information about any of these steps.
For more resources on welcoming the stranger see: http://welcomingthestranger.com/learn-and-discern/faqs/
Anglican Immigrant Initiative Leadership:
The Anglican Immigrant Initiative Taskforce is made up of clergy and lay-people throughout the Province who have a heart for ministry to immigrants. We are an official Initiative of the Anglican Church of North America.
Director and Interim Site Coordinator: Rev. Heather Ghormley, Mishawaka, IN, Diocese of the Great Lakes
Chair: Bp. Eric Menees, Fresno, CA, Diocese of San Joaquin
Mr. Sami DiPasquale, El Paso, TX, Diocese of the Southwest
Mr. Gus Haddad, El Paso, TX, Diocese of the Southwest
Rev. Jonathan Kindberg, Chicago, IL, Diocese of the Upper Midwest
Mrs. Christine Jones, Arlington, VA, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Rev. Robert Moss, Atlanta, GA, Diocese of the South
Rev. Leah Turner, Bridgewater, MA, Diocese of the New England
Rev. Raphael Villareal, Houston, TX, Diocese of Ft. Worth