Guest post by Bob Whitsitt, Executive Director of Serving & Outreach

Imagine the excitement of your first day of school and all the things you can only anticipate as the new year begins.  Now imagine you are a Hispanic child and you come home excited to share about your new teacher and new friends only to find your dad or mom has been picked up and deported by the authorities.

1) What is currently happening in the Latino community?
Following last week’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, children literally found their parent or parents being taken away not knowing if they will ever see them again. Our Hispanic community has been deeply affected by these raids. Shelby County Schools is expecting to be missing many children’s enrollment as they start the new school year. Children at home await in fear when their parents don’t show up at the appointed time for them to come home. Wives and husbands fear being separated.

2) Why is it important for people to know this is happening?
Regardless of where each of us may stand on the issue of immigration, as followers of Christ we are called to live differently. Christ modeled what it means to live in the tensions of His day, and scripture is pretty clear to us. Leviticus 19:33-34 says, “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger…shall be to you as a native…and you shall love him as yourself.” And Acts 17:26-27 “…and He made from one man every nation of mankind…having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.”

3) How can people get involved and help this issue? 
This coming Monday, Aug. 7, is the start of school, and the faith community is stepping up to present a welcoming presence at certain schools with a heavy Hispanic enrollment. Christ Church wants to stand with our brothers and sisters in this show of support. We want children and parents alike to know they are welcome and to sense a welcoming assurance from the faith community. Christ Church will join Second Presbyterian at Berclair Elementary School, 810 N. Perkins Road, Memphis, 38122. We will gather between 7:15-7:30 a.m. at Berclair ES and be a welcoming presence until classes begin at 8:15 a.m.

4) How can people pray specifically for this issue?
In the early days of the Christian Church, followers of Christ were known to be the ones who headed into the tensions as others fled. Pray about joining us on Monday at Berclair ES. Pray the promises of Phillipians 4:6-7 over the children and their parents. Pray for compassionate wisdom for our leaders in the days ahead. And pray for how we, Christ Church Memphis, can be a faithful presence among those scripture tells us God has appointed their times and boundaries.
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