Hundreds of U.S. faith communities to observe DREAM Sabbath

Through October 9, hundreds of faith communities across the United States will be holding DREAM Sabbath events in support of the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth brought here as children who have graduated from high school or obtained a GED and continued on to college or joined the military. Church World Service through its Immigration and Refugee Program is an active advocate for the DREAM Act.

Through October 9, hundreds of faith communities across the United States will be holding DREAM Sabbath events in support of the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth brought here as children who have graduated from high school or obtained a GED and continued on to college or joined the military.  Church World Service through its Immigration and Refugee Program is an active advocate for the DREAM Act.

During DREAM Sabbath 2011 (September 16-October 9), communities of faith are lifting up the lives of DREAM students in their prayers, readings, reflection and education during at least one Sabbath service as a way to help educate and spread awareness of DREAM students and their hopes to attain full recognition of their contributions to our communities.  In many cases, local DREAM students will attend and speak.

Faith leaders will also meet with media in conference calls in nine states.  Click here to hear recordings of the calls as they become available.

Among the many events listed at www.dreamsabbath.org:

* At 7 p.m. Saturday, October 1, the First United Methodist Church of Conroe, Texas, will hold a candlelight vigil for the DREAM Act.  Participants will include local politicians, DREAM students, local politicians and several area Hispanic congregations.

* Wesley United Methodist Church, 5312 Connecticut Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C., will observe DREAM Sabbath at 11 a.m. Sunday, October 2, World Communion Sunday.  Rev. Kate Murpehy commented, "Our service will celebrate the global body of Christ through the lens of this issue in looking at how we relate to and empower one another to pursue wholeness--for both ourselves as well as our glocal communities."  The service will feature the Wesley combo and a multi-lingual liturgy.

* October 2 at First Presbyterian Church of Cheyenne, Wyoming, 8 and 10:30 a.m. services for Peacemaking Sunday and World Communion will focus on immigration issues, including the DREAM Act. Jen Smyers from Church World Service will be the guest pastor, and will include action items that congregants can take on the DREAM Act and to support DREAM students.

In December of 2010, the DREAM Act came just five votes short of passing.  Faith communities around the country were deeply disappointed when the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the DREAM Act, but remain committed to the issue.

DREAM Act Gaining Momentum

On June 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security held a hearing on the DREAM Act, chaired by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who has championed this legislation from the beginning.

DREAM Sabbath 2011 is his brainchild.  During a conference call with DREAM students and faith-based advocates on September 14, Senator Durbin said more than 200 DREAM Sabbath events have been scheduled by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian and other faith and ecumenical communities in 41 states.  Many of these events are listed at www.dreamsabbath.org, with more sharing their plans every day.

“The most important social issues of our day – slavery, civil rights, poverty – draw religious leaders together,” Senator Durbin commented.  “That is what I am seeing with the DREAM Act.  Some issues go way beyond right-left, Democrat-Republican.  The DREAM Act is like that.”

He expressed appreciation for the Obama Administration’s suspension of deportation of DREAM students and others, which “recognizes that they are not a threat but an asset to this country and should not be facing deportation.”   The DREAM Act would go one step further – not just protecting DREAMers from deportation and allowing them to work legally, but also securing “DREAMers” futures by giving them the opportunity to earn lawful permanent residence and, eventuain the United States.

Visit www.dreamsabbath.org for more information, a list of registered events and to download a DREAM Sabbath 2011 packet.  The packet includes theological reflections, sermon starters, stories of DREAM students, bulletin inserts, myths and facts about the DREAM Act, and a petition that people can sign to support the DREAM Act.

 

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