Social Action

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Shelly Johnston Colvin, Mission Coordinator for Social Action

Social Action

United Methodist Women demonstrators arrested near White House!

Our UMW sisters were arrested, their wrists bound behind their backs, jailed and fined for Civil Disobedience at demonstrations near the White House in February and again July 31.  They were joined by other national faith leaders and immigrant rights advocates demanding more humane immigration and deportation policies.


Placards read “PRAYING FOR RELIEF” and “#NOT 1 MORE DEPORTATON” addressed current government policies that tear families apart by deporting 1100 people daily.


Signs of “DON’T DEPORT THE KIDS” referred to the dramatic increase in arrests of undocumented unaccompanied minor children fleeing Central America.


Most Americans agree that the current immigration system is not working, but there is little agreement about what should be done.  United Methodist Women want directives to stop detaining and deporting people simply because of their immigration status. We also request implementation of mechanisms to provide provisional status until a legalization bill becomes law.


UMW Vision: “We affirm a world in which God’s vision of beloved community, a world in which nationalities and borders do not divide us as the people who God loves. We affirm the human rights of every person regardless of status and affirm that these rights do not stop at borders.”


United Methodist Church Policy: “To refuse to welcome migrants to this country—and to stand by in silence while families are separated, individual freedoms are ignored, and the migrant community in the United States is demonized by members of Congress and the media—is complicity to sin” (Resolution 3281, “Welcoming the Migrant to the U.S.,” The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2012 © 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House.)


What the Bible Says: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”  (Leviticus 19:33-34)


“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger

and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was

in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)


So What Can I Do?  Pray for those affected. Pray for wisdom and compassion of elected officials and the voters who choose them. Seek God’s guidance as you ponder your personal response. Listen for a “leading” from the Holy Spirit, an opportunity to live out your prayers.

Take Advantage of UMW Resources! Download the Immigration Fact Sheet from the UMW website (it was my source for most of this article, so much of the information will sound familiar). The Hope and Hospitality: Immigration Resource Guide(a free download) provides background information and ready-to-use Bible studies, programs and worship services. 

At  choose “For Members/Leaders”, then click on “Social Action Resources”.  From the list of Advocacy Issue Pages, choose “Global Migration”


Note: Our 2014 Top 3 Social Action Priority Issues chosen by district officers, aligning with those of MN Conference UMW are Human Trafficking, Women’s Rights and Immigration & Civil Rights. 




The Sojourner's site has been updated and inmproved.  It is a good resource to consult about church perspectives on social justice, and can be subscribed to in order to receive ongoing information through this means.



The MN Council of Churches Refugee Services offers assistance to persecuted people who come to Minnesota as refugees.  The MN UMC Conference is a key member of the MN Council of Churches and we are also the local affiliate for UMCOR’s work with refugees.  We work with persecuted people who come by invitation of the US Government to start new lives in the United States and offer a range of educational and ministry opportunities to local congregations to learn more about and assist new refugees.  Although refugees arrive filled with hope and possess vast life experience, they arrive with very few material belongings with which to begin life in the United States.

As part of our efforts to warmly welcome new arrivals to Minnesota, we set up apartments for new families before their arrival, but we need help to do so!  Attached is a list of supplies needed to supply a family of five with what they need to start life in Minnesota.  UMW groups at church and district levels could help to assemble welcome kits which will be delivered to new refugee familes.  There is even the opportunity to set up the apartment!  Since most refugee resettlement happens in the Twin Cities, this is a great opportunity for churches in Greater Minnesota to have a direct impact on the lives of newly arriving refugee families.

Thank you for sharing this information, and feel free to relay questions back to me.  I think that this would be a great and impactful way for UMW groups to get involved in a group activity!

In Peace,

Kristin Zoellner
Refugee Services Resource Coordinator
Minnesota Council of Churches-Refugee Services