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United Methodists coming to Manassas to discuss immigration

An estimated 150 United Methodists from the Virginia Conference will gather at Grace United Methodist Church, 9750 Wellington Road, in Manassas on Saturday, Oct. 1, to talk about a faith-based response to issues surrounding immigration, according to a news release from the Virginia Conference’s headquarters in Glen Allen.

The convocation, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., has called by Bishop Charlene Kammerer, religious leader of more than 335,000 United Methodists in the state.

Bishop Kammerer was quoted as saying. “This is the time when we in the Church of Jesus Christ must live out our faith by welcoming and advocating for immigrants in our society — and in our congregations. Regardless of our political beliefs about immigration, the consistent message of Old and New Testament Scripture invites us to embrace the sojourner and stranger in our midst.”

The location was selected for the convocation because it is close to Prince William County, whose “controversial law requires police to question all criminal suspects about their immigration status,” according to the news release.

Speakers will include the Rev. Jim Perdue Burke, a United Methodist missionary for Immigration and Border Issues who works in Arizona, Also speaking will be undocumented students who are campaigning for Congressional approval of the DREAM Act. This is proposed legislation that would offer a conditional path to citizenship to students after completion of a college degree or two years of military service.

The convocation will begin and end with worship. Workshop topics will include: “Immigration as a Mission Field: Holy Conferencing and Extravagant Hospitality as Ways to Rethink Church,” “Dreaming the Dream: The Struggle for an Education,” “Navigating the Legal Maze: The Complex Nature of Immigration Rules and Regulations,” “A New Citizen’s View: A First-Hand Look at the Refugee Experience Today,” “Undocumented! The Struggle to Stay on the Right Side of the Law,” and “Immigrant Labor Issues: Modern Slavery?”

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