By Daniel Gomez, Chair of Communications
On Sunday, February 17th, University United Methodist Church and Las Naciones UMF celebrated the National Day of the Migrant with a bilingual Prayer Vigil for comprehensive immigration reform. Pastor Daniel Gomez welcomed the diverse congregation. More than one hundred participants viewed the short DVD “Jasmine’s Story.” A story of one young high school girl’s chronicle of her family’s travels with a broken immigration system. The story also relates how one United Methodist Church came alongside the family, who financially and spiritually supported Jasmine. As their support continued, that congregation began to experience a new thing about themselves. They were being transformed. After viewing the DVD, Bishop Robert Hoshibata, chairman of the General Board of Church and Society, delivered a message about immigration reform, diverging views, and the arduous task ahead for our Nation.
Bishop Robert Hoshibata; District Superintendent Candace Lansbury; Reverends Anthony Tang, Daniel Gomez and Katherine Tang, and two Las Naciones lay members served Communion. Following the service, a reception fostered active discussion on immigration reform and the telling of personal stories. Three sisters requested prayers for their brother, an undocumented immigrant, who landed on U.S. soil at the age of two. Now, at the age of forty, an independent construction business owner and model citizen, he is in detention and will soon be deported. A shared sense of urgency to enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and a reunification of families separated by migration and detention permeated the room. A diverse audience was composed from the following countries of origin: USA, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Chile, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Afghanistan, Iran, and some African nations.