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Welcoming the Stanger

This web page will feature information related to the new residents of our state, our immigrants and refugees.  At this time, it will feature commentary on current events, and suggestions for “welcoming the stranger” in your community.  This section will tell the   stories of our Iowa churches that have tried various approaches to drawing immigrants/refugees into the life of the church.

Your Conference Advocate for immigrants and refugees: karleneneal@butler-bremer.com 


Trump’s deportation plan

(March 13, 2017)

The Trump administration plans to detain and deport far more unauthorized immigrants than Obama did.  Plans include a “surge” of immigration judges and asylum officers to handle the long-standing backlog of cases.  It also plans to allocate billions of dollars for a massive border wall, new detention centers, and thousands of additional border and enforcement officers.  In a move that could have far-reaching effects, he is expanding the “expedited removal” process for an unauthorized migrant who has been in the US for two years or less.  This process allows an immigration officer to deport illegal immigrants without referring them to a judge under certain conditions, also used by Bush and Obama.  Trump’s priorities target all who have crossed the border without papers except for law-abiding recipients of the DREAM act and those whose children are US citizens—on a case- by-case basis.  There are unresolved questions about an unauthorized immigrant’s legal rights which will need to be settled in court.   What Trump plans falls within the legal framework of prior legal decisions. 

(For more information, contact: karleneneal@butler-bremer.com )


Worship together

Perry First has a bilingual worship service (in this case Spanish and English).  The hope when the program was initiated, was to eventually unite the two groups for worship and to have the church administration shared by both groups.  According to Rev. Paul Burrow (bilingual pastor), “At present we do not have enough members in the Hispanic congregation that can also manage English to do more than have a Hispanic representative on the Staff Parish Relations Committee.  The Spanish-speakers are full members of the church and in the past, they have served on various committees and taken responsibility for the administration of the church.”  (burrowpi@yahoo.com)

Trinity Las Americas UMC is the result of the merger on December 11, 2016 of Trinity UMC, a historic congregation founded in the 1880s, and Las Americas Comunidad de Fe, a Latino faith community begun around 1996. The two congregations have worshiped together in a bilingual service since 2007. Through the years various configurations of committees and councils were experimented with although financially and within the denomination they were separate entities until the merger. An English Language Learners program was begun in 2002 and continues today. Through the years we have had many programs for each group - English speakers and Spanish speakers, but also many bilingual programs and activities.  (office@trinitylasamericas.org)

North Liberty UMC also offers a bilingual worship service.  (nlmethodistblog@gmail.com)