Church work with immigrants

La mesa campesina

Thelma Herrera Flores
The purpose of this research is to develop a United Methodist ministry with Hispanic migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, also known as Campesinos, in the United States of America. The Campesinos encounter numerous struggles that go beyond the poverty of living standards, food, and education. This study will address a specific problem within the communities of Campesinos. Namely, the lack of spiritual leadership and guidance by clergy and laypersons within the church.

My methodology includes the development of an educational program that will enable churches to understand the plight of the Campesinos through bible study, testimonials, watching selected portions of videos, singing, and sharing fellowship Campesino meals. All with the purpose of stirring the church’s heart to action and leading them to a hands-on ministry with the migrant agricultural farm workers.

It is my hope that the United Methodist Church will reach out to the Campesinos to help them discover that Christ is walking next to them in the crop rows and drinking with them from the irrigation ditches. I believe in the beauty manifested through God’s love. The same love that can allow us to see that we are all the same. We all need Jesus.


Chung Yuen Chan D.Min.
In response to the migration of Hong Kong people to Canada in recent years, this project attempted to build up a biblical theology of hospitality from the perspective of discipleship. The theology of exile was also engaged to shed insight on hospitality. The driving question for this project was: How could the Hong Kong background Cantonese-speaking churches in Canada embrace a new wave of Hong Kong diaspora through practicing hospitality as a journey of discipleship?

This project interviewed 21 Hong Kong background Cantonese-speaking churches in Canada to draw lessons from their experience in embracing the Hong Kong wave during the period between September 2021 and May 2022.

Based on the biblical exposition, a framework of “B.O.N.J.O.U.R.” (i.e., boundary, orienting our hearts and minds, nurturing a lifelong habit, juncture, open, understanding, and reframing) in conjunction with the elements of the discipleship base of the writer’s church (i.e., Word, prayer, worship and stewardship of time, finance and talents) was proposed as a criteria for evaluating our mindset and practices in embracing the migration wave. Recommendations in another framework of “P.L.O.W.” (i.e., preparation, leadership, optics and willingness) were humbly offered at the end to different churches of different sizes and different paces in welcoming the migrants from Hong Kong.

Servant leadership in Burmese

Tial San Bik
The main purpose of this thesis is to provide an overview of leadership in the Burmese culture, to describe how it has changed in the last few decades, to recommend what is now needed to reform it and bring it back to health in society and, particularly, in the church. In a church steeped in a culture led by dictators for generations, the pastor can quickly become an authoritarian figure. However, in light of the gospel, all who follow Jesus ought to become servants. This project asserts and tests that servant leadership is a key factor between Burmese Christians and congregations in the USA as they work to understand the challenges of immigrant life.

This project is a case study that will look at the current situation in Burma through the eyes of Christian immigrants to the USA. The aim is to focus on leadership for Burmese immigrant congregations to understand the changes that have happened, to use biblical theology to understand that leadership, how it has changed, and how it must keep changing in a healthier direction.

Training Members of New Life Gospel Church in Keller, Texas to Understand the Love of God for Sustained Spiritual Growth

Tiejun Wang
New Life Gospel Church (NLGC) Keller, TX a Chinese immigrant church, has been at a bottleneck for quite a while. The situation was analyzed through biblical research, historical review, and theoretical study. The analysis revealed that the Christians of NLGC Keller were still living in a state of spiritual war. Then, the project was designed to focus on solving this issue through ongoing heart transformation by the love of God.
The project is called “heart transformation project.” Only God’s love can transform the heart. Therefore, Christians’ hearts must be put into the circulation of God’s love. The argument is whether God’s love can continue transforming Christians’ hearts. If Christians’ hearts can continue transforming through receiving and giving God’s love in the love-circulating system, the church will certainly grow up sustainably.
Focusing on heart transformation, the project can be utilized as a discipleship training program. Through the process of transformation by God’s love, Christians are expected to grow up quickly to become acceptable to God after His own heart.

Strangers and foreigners : developing a balanced Biblical perspective on immigration

Katherine P Osborn
We live in a nation that has been marked by much disunity in recent years. One of the issues contributing to the dilemmas we face is what to do about immigration. Society is torn between polarized views coming from both sides of the political spectrum, which has affected the Christian community as well. Initial research showed that the Church of God of Prophecy issued a short but biblically sound resolution on this subject in 2008, but little, if anything, has been published since then. Our silence as a denomination leaves us looking like we are hiding our heads in the sand. This thesis seeks to address this issue by correcting some of the misinformation circulating in the media while answering the question, “Who is my neighbor, and what constitutes authentic expressions of Christlike love and hospitality when it comes to welcoming and ministering to ‘strangers and foreigners’ who live in our midst?” The methodology is based on Richard Osmer’s four tasks of practical theology and includes both a survey of church leaders and interviews with immigrants. The research draws from history, political and social sciences, and theology to guide the church in shaping an accurate view of the immigration crisis while developing a biblically sound response to the issue. The goal is to open the door for honest conversation on the issue, develop a plan of action for ministering to the “strangers” in our midst, and ensure that our ministerial praxis is marked by authentic love for all people.

Anglos and Hispanics working together : an expression of the biblical vision of the church

John C Hutt
Because of the tremendous changes that are occurring specifically in Holland, Michigan, and in the U.S.A. in general with the continued growth and immigration of Hispanics, it is the intent of this project to look at ways that Anglos and Hispanics can work together most effectively in order to minister to this changing and integrated community. This is accomplished by examining Roman Catholic and Protestant attempts at Hispanic ministry in the U.S.A. in the past; by looking at the Biblical vision for a multiethnic church; and, finally, by showing what approach(es) would be necessary for an effective bicultural and bilingual ministry between Fourteenth street and Iglesia Hispana Christian Reformed Churches in Holland, Michigan.

Chapter one shows the changes taking place in our society and describes the characteristics of the Hispanics who are changing the fabric of our society by presenting the demographics of the Hispanics in the U.S.A in general, and, more specifically, in Holland, Michigan.

Chapter Two discusses an historical overview of the attempts by the Roman catholic and the Protestant Churches to minister to the Hispanics in the U.S.A.

Chapter Three attempts to argue for the multiethnic nature of the Christian Church as it is described by Saint Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians.

Chapter Four provides a brief history and description of the respective ministries at Fourteenth street and Iglesia Hispana Christian Reformed Churches in Holland, Michigan.

Chapter Five describes two different approaches that can be used for bilingual and bicultural ministries, namely, multiethnic and multicongregational.

The conclusion attempts to describe how these two different approaches can be applied in a bilingual and bicultural ministry between Fourteenth Street and Iglesia Hispana Christian Reformed Churches in Holland, Michigan.

Development of an Innovative Model of Congregational Engagement in Hospitality with Newcomers to Canada

Solange Agnès Belluz D.Min.
The main purpose of this portfolio was to develop a cross-cultural congregational engagement framework that would facilitate greater participation of congregants in hospitality with newcomers and refugees at The Peoples Church in Toronto. A central principle that emerged was the need to shift our ministry perspective from doing things to people to doing things with people. The framework developed as a result of this research included eight key principle and four key components: Learn, Engage, Assess and Participate (LEAP).

Hospitality is about welcoming others and making them feel at home. As someone who came to Canada over 30 years ago as an international student, I am sensitive to the needs of newcomers and refugees and the role that congregants could play in creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for them. I am also a firm believer that leadership is influence and that, through cross-cultural transformational leadership, we could create an environment where congregants would be motivated to welcome well.

This research demonstrated that there is value in meeting the physical needs of newcomers and refugees. However, effective engagement with the migrants and displaced needs to go beyond food, housing, and education. The research highlighted the need to create spaces where they belong; where they could be anchored to; where they can recover the feeling of belonging that has been lost in migration.

Los Factores que Ayudan a los Pastores Inmigrantes de Habla Hispana a Desarrollar un Ministerio Efectivo en Iglesias Hispanas en Los Ángeles

William Germán Cárcamo Ramos D.Min.
El tema de esta investigación es dar a conocer cuáles son los factores que ayudan a los pastores inmigrantes de habla hispana a desarrollar un ministerio efectivo en iglesias hispanas en Los Ángeles. Porque existe una cantidad de iglesias con pastores que están luchando día a día, para expandir el reino de Dios, y en su intento encuentran obstáculos, barreras de toda índole que surgen y afectan al pastor en su intento de avanzar.

La diversa representación cultural es un factor que existe en las congregaciones de Los Ángeles California que confronta el buscar modelos de superación, de ser efectivos, de hacer una labor Digna de Dios. En esta última década, pareciera que existe una confusión en el papel pastoral. Se observa una conducta mercantilista, por un lado, y por el otro, una posición religiosa sin fundamento.

Las propuestas de esta tesis se basarán en los resultados de una investigación realizada a pastores hispanos, que han estado en el campo de acción por muchos años, y atraviesan diversas problemáticas que no han sido visibilizadas y atendidas. El modelo a seguir será constructivo en base a una amplia investigación documental y de campo.

En esta tesis, el lector encontrará cuatro respuestas que ayuden al pastor a ser efectivo en su ministerio. Los factores mencionados son: 1) El pastor debe integrarse favorablemente a la diversidad cultural hispana de Los Ángeles California. 2) El pastor hispano debe tener un acompañamiento espiritual de otros pastores. 3) El pastor hispano debe aprovechar las oportunidades educativas para su superación. 4) El pastor hispano debe desarrollar nuevas capacidades pastorales ajustadas a la cultura de la iglesia hispana de Los Ángeles.

Equipping the Korean-American Families for Family Worship at Orange Canaan Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, CA

In the 120 years of Korean immigration to the United States, there has been a history of much hardship and loneliness associated with settling down in a strange land and living life as an immigrant. For many immigrants adjusting to life in the United States, in which their children have had to adjust to life in a whole new culture, it is often the case that they have not been able to pay much attention to their children's lives. Now, these parents face the problem of communicating to and discipling children that have grown up in a completely different language and culture—having been assimilated to the culture and having been educated in the United States growing up with a completely different set of values from their parents' generation. As such, problems and conflicts within Korean immigrant families in the United States continue to grow. For Christians, the problems they face often find their children leaving their homes and leaving their churches. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the Korean church in the United States.

Factores Que Promueven Una Pastoral Integral Hacia el Inmigrante Indocumentado en las Iglesias en el Valle de San Gabriel en el Condado de Los Ángeles

Héctor Alas D.Min.
El movimiento migratorio desde cualquier punto del planeta hacia los Estados Unidos es una realidad de dimensiones gigantescas. La complejidad de este fenómeno es tal, que ha llevado a las oficinas del gobierno norteamericano a repensar sus políticas, tanto internas para los que ya se encuentran en el país, como para los que buscan aventurarse intentando llegar. Pero no son los únicos, también ha desatado una incertidumbre generalizada para los que ofrecen sus servicios legales en el manejo de los procesos para formalizar su documentación.

La iglesia cristiana no es la excepción dentro de esa complejidad. Como tal, por su misión esencial hacia el prójimo, por encima de cualquier tendencia política, está llamada a mostrar el corazón de Dios hacia el inmigrante en maneras concretas. Para encaminar a la iglesia en su desafío hacia una pastoral integral a favor del inmigrante, se investigarán los factores que contribuyen a lograrla. Los instrumentos que facilitarán la investigación serán encuestas y estudios de casos. Lo anterior permitirá recabar la información de lo que se hace actualmente, y determinará también lo que podría hacerse en la amplitud que se desprende a partir de lo que la Biblia propone.

Al término de la investigación se ofrecerán 3 factores indispensables para que la iglesia cumpla con su misión pastoral de manera integral en un contexto multicultural. Los factores aludidos son los siguientes: 1) el entendimiento de la misión integral prescrita en la Biblia, 2) la implementación de ministerios de misericordia a favor de los inmigrantes indocumentados, 3) la promoción de alianzas estratégicas con organizaciones que realizan una pastoral integral.
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