MarcMarc Schlegel is the pastor at Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship in Boise, Idaho. This article originally ran in the AMBS Window publication

 

During September 2013, Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship, Evergreen Heights Mennonite, and Emmaus Christian Fellowship, along with several other churches throughout Idaho’s Treasure Valley, took part in 11 days of prayer and fasting for immigration reform. Eleven days to symbolize the estimated eleven million undocumented people currently living in our country.

 

Upon returning from the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix, I received an email from the Idaho Interfaith Alliance, looking for clergy that would be willing to join local efforts for immigration reform. After spending a week in Arizona learning about immigration reform, studying migration and the Bible, and hearing stories of those who have been unjustly impacted by our current system, I felt that if I did not answer this call, a whale might show up in my backyard.

Answering this email lead our congregation to having a worship series on immigration and the Bible, which lead to a letter-writing campaign, which eventually led us into joining with some of our fellow Idaho congregations in this fasting and prayer effort (including two other local Mennonite congregations who were also willing to answer this call).

 

As a congregation we are seeking to be more of a prophetic voice in our community – a prophetic voice that speaks from the impulse of love and not the impulse of fear. We know this means speaking from who we are as a peculiar people of faith – a people that seek to point to the God that created all people in God’s very own image with limitless potential. We also know this means we must pay attention for where God is already at work within our community. Participating in this time of prayer and fasting was, for us, a clear place of intersection of those two elements: who we are as a community of faith, and where God was already at work in our community.