This June, we are celebrating Peace with Justice, one of six United Methodist special offerings. Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, described peacemakers as people who “doth good unto all.” They share God’s love, not only with people they know or who believe exactly as they do, “but step ‘over all these bounds’ to manifest (God’s) love to neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies.”
This year we are supporting the peace and justice work done through the Austin Region of Justice for Our Neighbors (ARJFON). Justice for Our Neighbors is a United Methodist-affiliated immigration ministry that provides free or low-cost legal advice and services.
There is perhaps no theme as consistent in the Bible as the need to offer hospitality to the stranger and the foreigner (see Deut. 10:17-19 and Matthew 25:35).
Imagine you’re a kid who fled Honduras to escape the gangs and now you don’t know what to do or where to go…Imagine your husband beats you but you’re afraid to call the police because he says they’ll deport you. He threatens to take away your children and tells you there is nothing you can do about it…Imagine you’re a teenager and America is the only home you know. You can’t work legally and you can’t afford to go to college because you’re undocumented…Imagine you can’t go back to your home country because you are afraid the government will kill you, just like they did your brother.
Each year, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) offers hope and transforms the lives of thousands of low-income immigrants from around the world. In two years of operation ARJFON has literally helped families from all over the world, and has a special emphasis on representation of undocumented minors. Brooks Schuelke, one of the founders of ARJFON, FUMC member and current ARJFON Board member, writes, “One of the reasons I like JFON is that it fundamentally changes clients’ lives. When we’re able to help, it is not short-term help — it is life-long help. Women and children escape abusive situations; clients become employable and can become self-sustaining; clients can get the education that they wanted. These are life-changing results that occur because of the hospitality and good news offered by the United Methodist Church.”
Monetary donations ARJFON may be left at our communion rail or sent to or brought by the church office during the month of June.