In 2013, I was visiting the site of a newly opened Justice For Our Neighbors immigration clinic in Rockford, Illinois. As a part of my visit, I sat down with an intake volunteer who was new to the program.
Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) provides immigration legal help at no cost to new Americans who need those services. Many who come to this country have already spent large sums on unqualified attorneys or those posing as attorneys, and they come looking for someone they can trust to help them through the process. JFON uses volunteers to be that face of trust for its clients, allowing volunteers to conduct “intake” where many immigrants share their complete stories of how they came to be there.
As I met with the intake volunteer on that Sunday, she told me how her opinion about immigration in general used to be different. She thought she would volunteer with the program to see what she could learn about the people who came. After hearing a few of the stories of those who had come to the clinic, she began to change how she saw everyone around her, including immigrants. And now, when acquaintances make disparaging comments about new Americans, she shares her own story of how she had been changed through volunteering at JFON.
JFON is supported by your apportionment dollars. The budget for 2016 sends $15,000 to JFON. Your apportionments make a difference by creating a space where volunteers and clients are changed.
Visit www.nijfon.org for more.
Story submitted by Rev. Michael Mann
Be sure to check out the following:
- Annual Conference Registration now open! https://www.umcnic.org/2016-annual-conference/
- “Healthy Transitions and Culturally Competent Leadership” workshop available on two different dates and at two different locations. If you or your church will have a change in pastors this year, please mark your calendar now:
- July 23 in the Naperville area
- September 10 in the DeKalb/Sycamore area
Check out some of the pastoral transition materials now at: