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Immigration training helps Mennonite pastors to educate, serve (MCC Photo/Silas Crews)

(MCC Photo/Silas Crews)

Immigration training helps Mennonite pastors to educate, serve

September 19, 2011

AKRON, Pa. – Four Mennonite pastors were among 38 people who attended Immigration Law Training, sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. Immigration Education, Sept. 6-10. The annual training held in Akron, Pa., helps to prepare paralegals, immigration specialists, church leaders and nonprofit staff to guide immigrants legally through the complex web of U.S. immigration laws.

The pastors are (front, left to right) Rosie Epp of Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., and a board member of MCC U.S. and MCC Central States; Jack Knox, Salem (Ore.) Mennonite Church; (back, left to right) Sylvia Shirk, Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship, New York City; and Margie Mejia-Caraballo, Templo Alabanza Spanish Mennonite Church, Moline, Ill.

The training helps the pastors to work with immigrants in the community and advocate for immigrant church members, and it provides tools to educate congregants and the larger church about immigration issues. “Immigrants are our neighbors,” said Epp. To provide them with accurate information is part of our responsibility to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Saulo Padilla, director of MCC U.S. Immigration Education, said this training also will help prepare immigration workers to implement national immigration reform that many immigration advocates are anticipating. This training fits into MCC’s overall programs, Padilla said, which include development work in other countries so potential immigrants have a way to support their families without emigrating.

Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ