Who we are: The Anglican Immigrant Initiative is an ACNA grassroots effort whose purpose is to equip the local church to serve and reach under-resourced immigrants using the unique and timely tool of immigration legal ministry. In meeting immigrants practical legal needs we also hope to meet their spiritual needs through evangelism and the starting of 30 new immigrant congregations.
The purpose of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, there are 38.5 million immigrants (12.5% of the total population) in the U.S. It is estimated that of this group, 12 million are under-resourced and in need of help navigating a confusing legal system in which they are often taken advantage of by unlicensed help. Additionally, with the possibility of a reform bill this coming year, there is the possibility of an additional 11.5 million immigrants in need of legal help. We believe this presents the church with a unique opportunity for mission and partnership with immigrant brothers and sisters from around the world.
Who else is a part of this Movement?The Anglican Immigrant Initiative is part of a larger multi-denominational movement called the Immigration Alliance. For information on the Alliance see: www.theimmigrationalliance.org.
How Does Immigration Touch the Anglican Church in North America? The ACNA includes immigrants and immigrant congregations from all over the world. Many of our fastest growing churches are immigrant congregations, as is the case for many denominations in North America. We have Burmese, Hispanic, Korean, Nigerian, Sudanese and Chinese congregations, to name a few groups. Furthermore, all of our congregations are surrounded by immigrants from all over the world who live in our communities. This presents us with a wonderful opportunity for mission and for renewal.
God tells us throughout the Scriptures that he loves and has a special concern for the alien (Deut 10:18, Ps 146:9), and he commands his people to do the same (Lev 19:33-34). God commanded the Israelites to treat the foreign-born the same as they treated native-born Israelites (Ex 12:49), but he also instituted special provisions for immigrants, along with other vulnerable groups such as orphans and widows (Deut 24:19-21, Mal 3:5).
In the New Testament, Jesus, who as a child was forced to flee as a refugee to Egypt, makes clear in the parable of the Good Samaritan that God’s command to love our neighbor includes, specifically, migrants in need (Lk 10:25-37). He instructs us to welcome the stranger, for in doing so we are welcoming Christ himself (Mt 25:31-46).
I want to be involved, how do I start? There are five ways to be involved: learn and help your congregation learn about immigrants, immigration, and "welcoming the stranger" in our midst; host an immigrant legal aid center; intern as a legal aid missionary intern; giving financially towards this initiative; and pray for immigrants. See the home page links for more information on each way to get involved.
How to Start a Legal Aid Ministry at Your Church: An Overview
A Four Stage Process to Launching an Immigration Legal Ministry:
- Self-Assessment (4-6 weeks)
- Training, Experience, & Mentoring (80 hrs)
- Application for Certification (3-12 months)
- Open for Ministry
Please see the Immigration Alliance's brochure "Launching an Immigration Legal Ministry" for more details here.
Serve as a Church Planter and immigrant Legal Aid Intern
This internship combines prayer, evangelism/church planting and legal assistance.
Interns would work with their designated sites to obtain necessary training and experience required by the federal government to be granted recognition and accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). This would include attending a 40 hour basic immigration law training to become certified in helping immigrants with legal paperwork as well as attending other trainings. Once training is complete, interns would return to their home church or other space which would serve as a immigration legal aid site. The designated legal aid site would be responsible for submitting the application for recognition and accreditation to the BIA. Legal aid interns would engage in holistic, relational mission and seek opportunities to share the gospel while serving immigrants practical needs through legal aid ministry.
Interns would serve at a specifically designated and BIA recognized site, either at their home church, or at another ACNA congregation around the country. The host church would provide supervision, housing and an office out of which to work while the Anglican Immigrant Initiative would provide the mentoring and coaching for both the host site and the intern in raising funds as well as in church planting and working in an immigrant context.
Length: 2 years commitment.
To apply, click here.
Start an Immigration Legal Aid Center
The Anglican Immigrant Initiative Provides:
Host Site Provides:
If interested, fill out this form.
To learn more about the Anglican Immigrant Initiative, please visit their website.