On April 24 and 25, 2021, Plymouth will celebrate Immigrant Rights Weekend, sponsored by the Welcoming Migrants Committee. The United Church of Christ has designated Immigrant Rights Sunday as an opportunity to lift up immigrants: to learn about their concerns, honor their contributions to our country and communities, hear their pain, pray for their well-being, and listen to hear where God is leading us regarding issues of immigration.
Congregations are encouraged to include stories about immigrants in their worship service and explore avenues to advocate for immigrant justice.
Welcoming the stranger among us as native born is part of our faith tradition, for we too were once strangers (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33, Deuteronomy 10:17-19). However, too often the immigrants among us are rejected, treated as outcasts and placed on the margins of society.
On Immigrant Rights Weekend, Plymouth will welcome Reverend Dr. Randy Mayer, to deliver the sermon for the Saturday night/Sunday services. Dr. Randy Mayer is the Senior Minister at The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ (Sahuarita, Arizona), where he has served for the past 19 years. When Randy began to look for a church to pastor, he and his wife Norma dreamed of being as close to the US/Mexico border as possible. Randy has carefully blended his love of church camp and mission work into a very unique ministry of action, compassion, and inclusion of all. Randy is known in the Santa Cruz Valley as a musician, community organizer and a steady, progressive voice. He is a founding member of most of the border humanitarian groups and seeks to follow and teach about a “God That Is Still Speaking.” Randy and Norma reside in Sahuarita with their two boys, a dog, a cat and a yard full of packrats.
The Saturday night/Sunday services will also feature music from a border musician, as well as photographs taken by members of the Plymouth delegation (led by Pastor Nikira Hernandez-Evans) that participated in the Faithful Witness at the Border in 2018. Reverend Dr. Randy Mayer will also join Plymouth for the April 25 Fellowship Forum.
Leading up to Immigrant Rights Weekend, the Welcoming Migrants Committee co-sponsored a three-week book study of The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cant. with Plymouth Faithful Readers Book Group, and sponsored the I Was a Stranger 40-Day Challenge as part of the Practice Makes Plymouth Lenten Guide. The latter involves daily reading and reflecting on a short Bible passage that relates in one way or another to the theme of immigration. The Welcoming Migrants Committee also advocates on an ongoing basis at the state and national level supporting bills and policies that improve the lives of immigrants and refugees, and opposing those that discriminate or are punitive towards our Latinx neighbors.