Immigration series planned at First Baptist
There was so much interest, the congregation decided to explore the issue further. It has scheduled a four-session Sunday school class, “Wrestling with Issues of Immigration: Faith, Community and Public Policy.”
The series opens at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 21. The hope is to attract other members of the community as well, according to Barbara Nelson, member of the education team.
The sessions will be facilited by Sally Godard and Emily Kerrigan. They are affiliated with the Unidos Bridging Committee, a local group which has been working on building support between the Latino and non-Latino communities in Yamhill County.
Members of the local Latino community, including Causa intern Miriam Corona, a Linfield student who grew up in Dayton, will also participate.
“Immigration, and issues of immigration, are such a hot topic now,” Godard said. “It’s hugely important for Oregon. Most of our non-Latino community don’t have an understanding of what those Latinos in our community have to face and how, for them, the immigration system has been broken for a number of years.”
Her hope is that by educating the community about the challenges and potential solutions, a more united community will emerge.
The county supports an extensive agricultural industry that employs a lot of Latino farmworkers, Godard said. And nationally, it is estimated only 30 percent of them are legally documented.
“In our county, families are mixed,” she said. A family may include undocumented individuals, U.S. citizens and someone who is a permanent resident holding a Green Card.
“The struggles for them are really extensive,” Godard said. “The whole immigration system is overwhelming, beaucratic and detail-oriented.”
“Our goal is to inform, not only our congregation, but the community,” Nelson said.
Godard said that education is also one of Unidos’ goals.
“When it comes right down to it,” she said, “we have a pretty segregated community for Latinos and non-Latinos. We live in different worlds.”
She said education could help change that.
The four sessions, all slated to start at 10 a.m., are booked for April 21, on “The Broken Immigration System: How it Affects Families in our Community;” for April 28, on “Immigrants and Legal Policies: Current Action in the State Legislature and Congress;” for May 5, “Collaborating with Corporations: Immigration, Detention and Deportation;” and May 19, on “A Congregational Response For and With Our Immigrant Neighbors.” They will be held at the church, located at 125 S.E. Cowls St. in downtown McMinnville.
For more information, call the church office at 503-472-7941.