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Children's Ministry: Prayer Challenge week 6

December 10, 2020
 
Children’s Ministry Prayer Challenge Week 6
Focus: Undocumented Immigrant[1] Children and Families
by Catharine Morris, Ellen Dizon and Fel Cao
Children’s Ministry Task Force
 
December 13, 2020 is the Third Sunday of Advent. We, Cathy, Ellen, and I (Fel), on behalf of the Task Force on Children’s Ministry,[2]are coming to you in the connection of our California-Nevada Conference of our beloved United Methodist Church, that during this time of the Advent Season to pray for undocumented immigrant children and their families and lament the very difficult situations and condition they are faced with. As we retell the narrative of the incarnation of God in the human flesh, embodied in the life of Jesus, who was born a child, and lived with his family, that as early a few days after birth, already fell under the threat of oppression and death from the puppet king of the Roman Empire, Herod.[3] Children together with their families, neighbors, and members of their community have fled from oppression in their home countries and have been knocking on the doors here in the United States for acceptance and to live lives with belongingness and dignity. We encourage each other to learn and advocate to avoid using the word “illegal” when referring to undocumented immigrant children and parents. That word or term is dehumanizing.
 
We encourage the churches to make use of this Prayer Challenge in worship, pastoral prayers, and include the participation of children in the reading of the Word, Wisdom, and the Prayer.
 
WORD                    Deuteronomy 10:16-19
“So, circumcise your hearts and stop being so stubborn, because the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of all lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.”[4]
                                               
WISDOM               “The repeal of DACA, lack of action on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and current anti-immigrant rhetoric are converging to create a particularly distressing environment for undocumented students and citizen students with undocumented family. These students’ experiences can adversely affect their social, emotional, and mental well-being . . . .Educators [and others] can better support these students if they understand the students’ pre- and post- migration experiences, undocumented status, fear of deportation, and socioeconomic status.”[5]
 
PRAYER
 
Pray for

  • Undocumented immigrant children to have an opportunity for education, meals, health benefits
  •  Children who experienced trauma from pre-migration violence 
  • Children who experience stress adjusting to life in the United States 
  • Children who experience low self-esteem, depression, and greater suicidal alienation 
  • Others (as you will identify)
NOTE: We would be delighted to hear any feedback with regards to how this weekly Prayer Challenge had been helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. May the blessings of the Advent Season empower you more and richly in your ministries of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
 
[1]In her first opinion on the high court, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor used the term “undocumented immigrant” to refer to individuals present in the U.S. without proper authorization. According to the New York Times, it was the first time the term had been used in a Supreme Court case and it caused an uproar. Those in opposition to the term “undocumented” say that many immigrants use expired visas or fraudulent documents and thus have documents, just not valid ones. They also believe the term is too rosy and masks the fact that these immigrants have circumvented the legal system. (Sojourners Magazine Digital Issue, July 2012)
[2] Task Force on Children’s Ministry is one of the three (3) Ministry Areas of the Conference Committee on Young People’s Ministry. The two other Ministry Areas are Peace and Justice and Leadership Development.
[3] Matthew 2:16-17
[4] Contemporary English Bible
[5] Chelsea Connery from “Issue Brief: The Impact of Undocumented Status on Children’s Learning,
UCONN/Neag School of Education
Photo by Sojourners Magazine/Tom Brenner/Getty Images, June 2019.

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