Psalm 91: 1-6, 14-16
Jeremiah 32: 1-15
1 Timothy 6: 6-19
Luke 16: 19–31
October 6 is World Communion Sunday. Here at Bethel, we will share the bread and the juice while remembering that we are fellow-citizens of this world with all kinds of people, on both sides of every border, for whom Jesus Christ gave his life.
On that Sunday, we will also receive the annual Neighbors In Need offering of the United Church of Christ. Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. This year, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities.
Here is one example of a justice and witness project that is supported by Neighbors in Need:
[These are excerpts from an article in United Church News, written by Connie Larkman.
A United Church of Christ sanctuary church offering immigrants refuge in the Arizona borderlands will soon be offering a place of hospitality, support and hope on the Mexican side of the border for people who find themselves deported from the United States.
The Shadow Rock UCC Sanctuary Action Team and the Rev. Ken Heintzelman, in an extension of the spirit and intent of their ministry of sanctuary in Phoenix, are in the process of establishing Hope Station Nogales, in Sonora, Mexico.
"If Dreamers are going to be deported, their experience, their trauma and their grief will be most intense," Heintzelman said. “They've lived most of their lives in this country. They are going to want to be reunited with their families and they may take risks to cross the border. If they get caught, they will be going to prison.”
This ministry of hospitality and justice hopes to help resource an alternative reality.
“The core of the Gospel is new life,” said the Rev. Bill Lyons, Southwest Conference Minister. “Hope Station gives deportees a chance at new life near the border so they can stay as connected to their families as possible, mitigating the overwhelming temptation of crossing the border illegally because the only life they know is on the other side of the wall.”
The thought is Hope Station can be a place of transition, a place where people who are deported but have family in the U.S. can find a meal, safe lodging and assistance. Priority will be given to individuals who have an attorney and an administrative remedy in process, and no criminal record. Hope Station will be a community in formation for people who share the goals of reuniting with their families and working, rebuilding their lives....
“Justice and Witness Ministries was pleased to be able to support Hope Station ministry through the awarding of a 2017 Neighbors in Need (NIN) grant last fall,” said Bentley deBardelaben, Executive Associate, Justice and Local Church Ministries. “Our grant committee felt it was important to stand with this community who bravely offer support to people who await decisions in their pending cases within the immigration court system. ...
“Where is God in this dark hour? Hope Station offers an answer to that question when asked by young, undocumented, permanent residents deported because they were brought here as children. Or when American children, whose parents are ripped from their families in deportation proceeding, turn to heaven and cry, ‘What now?’ God is there, at the border, to hold and to heal and to help in tangible ways,” Lyons said. “Would we rather that God stop the suffering and soften the hard hearts of the perpetrators of our immoral immigration policies? Absolutely! But until those hard hearts soften and those ears begin to listen to the cries of their people, Hope Station will mend hearts broken by family separation.”
This is only one among many examples of Neighbors In Need dollars at work’ To see more, visit www.ucc.org/nin
“Listen to Moses and the prophets.”