Immigrant Welcoming Congregations

The West Michigan Conference was chosen by the UMC General Board of Church and society as 1 of the 7 national pilot Immigrant Welcoming Congregations programs.

The IWC Program is based on a successful model developed and successfully completed with a group of downtown Chicago congregations last year. Our goal with the 1-year journey is to build “Immigrant Welcoming Congregations” by equipping churches to travel from mercy to justice, from service-only to multi-faceted friendships, from ministering to – to being transformed alongside the new immigrant. The IWC Program offers us a creative, concrete way to collaborate with a general agency and assist local churches in engaging in meaningful ministry in their local context.

How will this work?

We will be identifying and supporting 8-10 congregations to take part in this voluntary program. In our conference, the project will be managed by Justice for Our Neighbors.  The regional coordinator will supervise the program and manage the grant.  The JFON attorney will be available to the project as a speaker and technical advisor.

Each congregation will appoint 2 to 4 volunteer leaders to organize their members and customize a plan for their congregation and/or community.  They will work directly with the Justice Discipler to plan and execute several events or activities throughout the year.  The Justice Discipler will provide leadership and secure materials to help them reach their goals for justice actions while honoring whatever place on the path they may find themselves.  Local Leaders from all participating congregations will meet as group at planned retreats to share ideas and information.

To learn more about this project, we are hosting a retreat on Saturday, February 25th.  Please contact Laura Rampersad if you have questions or would like to reserve a spot at the retreat.

Intern Position Available

JFON will be hiring an intern to manage this project.  For more information about the position – intern job description (pdf)