Mark Your Calendar
Pastor Tracey and Ruth Smith are involved with the Interfaith Leaders of Greater Lafayette (ILGL). ILGL is a coalition of leaders of religious institutions and organizations in greater Lafayette dedicated to dialogue, service, hope, and a shared vision for our local community and united to create and support a community of respect, dignity, and responsibility for all. Through ILGL, we hope to create an atmosphere of hospitality, belonging, compassion, and
safety, where the city can stand firmly together in our diverse beliefs.
The group meets regularly to learn about issues facing the greater Lafayette community, engage in critical dialogue about these issues, and invite common responses to them. The goal is to disseminate resources, promote events, and connect individuals in our faith communities to initiatives furthering our vision for the greater Lafayette community and promote increased understanding of various faiths and how our faith informs our values.
For the past several months, ILGL has been focusing on the issue of immigration. Dr. David Atkinson, history professor at Purdue, shared a historical context for immigration restrictions in the United States, noting that restrictions based on national origin and religion are nothing new. Susan Brouillette, director of the Immigration Clinic at LUM, presented an Immigration 101. Finally, Dr. James McCann, professor of political science at Purdue, presented on the civic life of Latino immigrants at our meeting on April 19.
Dr. McCann shared that 43-44 million U.S. residents are foreign-born, a significant increase having more to do with the demand for migrant labor in the construction, agricultural, and medical industries since the 1980s than the changes in federal immigration legislation in the 1960s. Today, roughly 1 in 8 U.S. residents are foreign-born, which is comparable to the early 19th century. The process of integration is, as Dr. McCann put it, “clunky” but is part of our historical process as a nation.
Through his research with Latino immigrants (citizens, documented, and undocumented), he found that immigrants may be more American than U.S.-born residents. This is based on feelings about the flag, the U.S. government, and voting. Overwhelmingly, Latinos living in the U.S. have a positive view of the U.S. government and feel that voting is a duty, not a choice unlike data on U.S. born residents, which have a relatively negative view of the government and feel that voting is a choice rather than a duty. Second, the immigration rights movement has persisted since the 2006 demonstrations against legislation passed by the U.S. House that would make it a felony to be in the United States illegally. While this movement has morphed, data shows that there is still a strong network that can be activated. Finally, he found that among Latinos, major political disappointment does not equal civic withdrawal. Most those surveyed do not desire to return to their country of origin, even if they view the country moving in the wrong direction, indicating that their sense of belonging and partisan identification has not been shaken, even post-2016 election. Dr. McCann is currently conducting further research on the resilience of this population as the Trump Administration is more established.
Beginning this summer, ILGL will turn its focus to issues of hunger and homelessness in greater Lafayette.
Want to Get Involved with Issues of Immigration Locally?
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Did you have a favorite story as a child? I did. Mine was The Fire Cat by Esther Averill. It was the story of a homeless cat named Pickles. With no one to care for him, Pickles terrorized other cats in the neighborhood. But a woman in the neighborhood named Mrs. Goodkind saw potential in Pickles. Through a strange twist of circumstances, Pickles becomes the Fire House cat whose life is turned around when he discovers his purpose in rescuing other cats that become stranded in trees. Pickles’ life changes because of Mrs. Goodkind’s compassion and encouragement. At one point in the story, she pronounces this promise over Pickles’ life: “Pickles, you are a big cat with big paws and someday you will do big things.”
As you all know, I’m much more of a dog person. Yet, the story of Pickles made a deep impression on me. That little story taught me something about life and the power of love to effect change in people’s lives. A good story has great power…
In the upcoming months, we hope to build stronger relationships with our neighborhood and the sharing of our stories will be an important part of that process. We hope to begin our outreach with Ruth Smith’s Photovoice project designed to capture the stories of our neighborhood. Ruth will draw together members of our church and those who live and work in the Centennial Neighborhood to share their stories through photo narrative.
During the month of April, you’ll hear more about our Community Garden. There will be neighborhood walks to invite our neighbors to get involved. We plan to host Community Cookouts to draw together members of our community for food and fellowship; so we can get to know one another and share our stories with one another. On each Sunday in April, during morning worship, members of this team will share ways you can become engaged in this initiative.
Another team of Trinity folks will meet with teachers and administrators at Miller Elementary School in hopes of identifying families in need with whom we can build relationships over the course of the school year. Along with providing school supplies, we’ll come together regularly for food and fellowship and, once again, have the opportunity to share our stories with one another and build relationships. This team will make announcements in worship throughout the month of May.
Beginning in July, Morris DuBose will lead a small group of Trinity folks who will come together to share their stories with one another over the course of several weeks. Sharing our stories allows us to become more aware of God’s grace moving in our lives. Knowing our history provides the opportunity for us to view our individual stories through the lens of faith. Author Lisa Hess writes:
You know less about yourself now than you will when you have shared your story. If you are willing to risk becoming more aware of the mystery of being human and a child of God, you will come to hear unexpected elements of your own story...
Our biblical gospels are stories that draw us into relationship with Jesus. I hope in the upcoming months that you will get engaged in these various groups that will allow us to fulfill Trinity’s vision of growing in love and service through relationships with God and community.
Read more about the Community Garden.
When disaster strikes around the globe—Haiti’s 2010 earthquake or Typhoon Haiyan in 2013—so many watching the drama unfold on our living room televisions feel entirely helpless. How could any one person make a difference in the wake of such widespread devastation? As responders around the globe scramble to help survivors, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, is prepared to act.
So don’t be fooled by the word committee.
Since 1940, when UMCOR’s forerunner was established to meet the needs of those suffering overseas at the onset of World War II, we’ve continued to respond to those in desperate need—today throughout more than eighty countries around the world.
The response of UMCOR isn’t something “they” do, it’s something “we” do.
When You Give You Equip Christ’s Body to Serve in His Name. That’s because your generous giving to UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) is what allows UMCOR to act as the arms and legs of Christ’s church, moving toward the most vulnerable in their darkest days. Convinced that all people have God-given worth and dignity—without regard to race, religion or gender—together we are assisting those impacted by crisis or chronic need.
Because you give, the United Methodist Church’s compassionate response to human suffering continues today:
UMCOR will be able to offer aid in Jesus’ name to those who suffer because United Methodists give through UMCOR Sunday, (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing). In fact, it’s your generous giving that allows us to respond when disaster strikes. Not “they.” We.
Ensure the United Methodist Church Can Keep Helping
Will you continue to give to UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing)? Will you continue to meet the needs of the children, families and communities who’ve
experienced devastation in the wake of disaster?
When we meet the needs of those who suffer we actually minister to Jesus, who said, “I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.” (Mt. 25:35-36, CEB)
As we respond, we recognize Jesus in those who are reeling in the wake of disaster.
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