Like many congregations, my church struggles with how to welcome strangers into our midst. We have visitor cards and welcome badges and the greeters at every door, but we stop short of translating information into another language or specifically serving the large immigrant population in our city.
There are obstacles churches face when trying to find effective ways to welcome the stranger. During a recent discussion about immigration in an adult Sunday school class, one man stated passionately, "I don't want this church doing anything illegal or becoming one of those churches that harbors fugitives from the law."
While this man might have been more outspoken than most, he reflects the concerns and conflicted feelings many have about specifically reaching out to immigrants. After explaining that most immigrants are in this country legally, I also assured the man that U.S. law does not hold a church responsible for determining or reporting the immigration or visa status ...1