Formed in late 2016, this Task Force was developed in conversation with Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and other Church leadership, as a response to the growing needs of North Carolina’s vast immigrant population. In 2017 the Task Force gathered to share and assess the needs and stories of our immigrant families, friends, and neighbors. We have done our best to follow the constantly changing landscape of the political landscape, as it affects and often afflicts immigrant people.
For 2018 we have adopted a threefold focus for our advocacy efforts:
- Conference-Level work — As a connectional people, we meet several times throughout the year, partnering with the 800 or so churches in the (Eastern) North Carolina Conference. Our Task Force is spreading the word through Conference-level partnerships (between the Hispanic/Latino Committee, Immigration and Refugee Committee, Board of Church and Society, and Missions Committee) which will host a bishop’s forum on immigration, a breakout session at Annual Conference, and connect with ministry being done with our youth.
- Local Church Connections — Because the heart of the United Methodist Church beats in the local church, we are working towards several ways of incorporating and spreading the news and ministry of immigration advocacy. These events will range from individual church meetings to small “cluster” meetings with several churches.
- Sanctuary — North Carolina is a leading state in the modern Sanctuary Movement, hoisting several individuals who abide in hopes of status change, in expectancy of living peacefully in our home state. Many immigrants face adverse realities within our broken immigration system, many of them having been unable to find a legal and concrete path to citizenship. Between refugees who came in the 1980s amidst civil war in their home countries to people who were unable to renew work visas, the many people living in Sanctuary are a tangible way of supporting the need for immigration reform.