Mennonites once were the banned refugees

Mar 6, 2017 by and

A forgotten piece of Mennonite immigration history has gone viral on social media. “Banning travel or immigration into a country is not new,” begins the post by archivist Conrad Stoesz on the Facebook page...

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Last shall be first

Feb 13, 2017 by

The slogan “America first” may take various forms in the coming years, but hostility toward Muslim refugees and other immigrants has become an integral part of it. Acting quickly after taking office,...

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Book review: ‘Both My Sons’

Feb 13, 2017 by

I’m not one of those folks who reads historical fiction and longs for the past, for a more bucolic way of life and the wonder that might accompany the discovery of new frontiers. Indeed, I know a work of...

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Sanctuary moves outside church walls

Feb 6, 2017 by and

The teach-in was supposed to happen at a local library. But when President Trump entered office with executive actions that heightened fears among the immigrant community, a larger venue was needed. Columbus...

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MCC U.S. statement on immigrants and refugees

Jan 27, 2017 by and

Do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. (Zechariah 7:10) Mennonite Central Committee U.S. decries the executive actions on...

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Kennel-Shank: Places of sanctuary

Jan 2, 2017 by

Sharing my faith story with the church small group I’m part of, I described myself as a broken-hearted person. One person responded that she’d usually heard people describe themselves as tender-hearted...

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Kriss: Immigrants are the church

Jan 2, 2017 by

Soong Chan Rah’s The Next Christendom points out that most immigrants to the United States are already Christian. This ongoing influx of Christians bolsters our churches and keeps an abundant percentage of...

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Double standard

Dec 19, 2016 by

Since Dale Welty’s false allegations about Hillary Clinton (Letters & Comments, Dec. 5) likely represent the views of more than one Mennonite, they suggest the need for a collective apology and...

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Students, faculty seek protections for undocumented FPU students

Dec 19, 2016 by and

A petition signed by hundreds of Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University faculty, students and alumni asks President Richard Kriegbaum to publicly pledge to protect undocumented students. The petition was created...

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Hispanic group laments losses, charts new course

Oct 31, 2016 by and

The Iglesia Menonita Hispana (Hispanic Mennonite Church) board wants to restructure the organization to better support all Hispanic people throughout Mennonite Church USA. At a meeting planned for Nov. 17-19...

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Walking with the ghosts of El Camino

Aug 31, 2016 by

What does it mean to practice solidarity, to become a neighbor, to exchange hospitality? As a white U.S. citizen engaged in immigrant justice work, my reflections on these difficult questions are constantly...

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Felons or families?

Jul 4, 2016 by

Political rhetoric around immigration sometimes creates categories of good and bad immigrants — those who should be welcomed into the United States and those who should be kept out. President Obama embraced...

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On not being anti-Trump

Jun 2, 2016 by and

During the past winter and spring, we have had conversations with Amish and Mennonite neighbors regarding the U.S. presidential candidates. Although our denominational press seems almost unanimous in its...

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Deported pastor’s supporters press for his return

Apr 11, 2016 by

Advocates for deported Iowa Pastor Max Villatoro were hopeful after meeting with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., March 20-21, the one-year anniversary of his deportation. When he was deported on March 20, 2015,...

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Of strangers, pilgrims, hospitality

Jan 18, 2016 by

The immigrants had arrived. Was there no end to their numbers? What language were they speaking? What was their origin? Their destination? Why were they here? The two worlds were a study in contrast. The...

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Welcoming immigrants while stepping on by

Nov 2, 2015 by

God executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. — Deuteronomy 10:18 10,000 steps every day. That’s just over five miles. I have a...

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Secular country, religious voters

Sep 28, 2015 by

You may have noticed there’s an election going on. Not the U.S. presidential campaign. I’m talking about the Oct. 19 Canadian election. Unlike in the U.S., religion plays a very minor role in Canadian...

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Presidential candidates in Iowa cite justice, freedom

Sep 8, 2015 by and

Presidential candidates from both major U.S. political parties this summer heralded Iowa Mennonites they say have been victimized by unjust federal laws. Before one of the largest Iowa crowds drawn by any...

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Friends rally for deported pastor, immigration reform

Aug 3, 2015 by

IOWA CITY, Iowa — An advocacy group to support a Mennonite pastor deported in March has been formed. “Friends of Pastor Max” supports Max Villatoro, co-pastor with his wife of Torre Fuerte (Strong Tower)...

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White privilege, white nationalism, racism and Charleston

Jul 7, 2015 by

There is a reason, perhaps less in importance but perhaps just as insidious, why Christian communities of faith need to stop in their tracks and post a new life sign about the end of racism in the Church. That...

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Deported Iowa pastor holds on to hope

Jun 29, 2015 by and

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Father’s Day was set to be difficult for the Villatoro family. Father and children, husband and wife were separated by thousands of miles and a 10-year ban on re-entry to the United...

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If America became a Christian nation

May 19, 2015 by

With political season kicking off again, so is the season where folks begin to use the term “Christian nation.” Some claim we were one, some claim we are one, and some say we need to become one. Yet, each...

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Charges dropped in immigration detention protest

May 7, 2015 by and

LUMPKIN, Ga. — A judge in Georgia on April 9 dropped charges against a group of immigrant-rights activists, including the leader of an Anabaptist community. At the culmination of a Nov. 22 vigil, five...

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Iowa pastor deported to Honduras

Mar 25, 2015 by and

Mennonite pastor Max Villatoro was deported March 20 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to San Pedro, Honduras. Co-pastor of Iglesia Menonita Torre Fuerte (First Mennonite Church) in Iowa City with...

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New York churches assist new immigrants

Mar 16, 2015 by and

NEW YORK — Mennonite Garifuna churches of New York City have been assisting numerous Garifuna immigrants who have arrived since June. To date, they have assisted about 140 families, helping them with food,...

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