The Diocese of Massachusetts--in partnership with its sister dioceses in New England, Episcopal Migration Ministries and the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations--is organizing "Love God, Love Neighbor: Advocacy in Action"--a two-day training and advocacy initiative in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4-5, focused on gaining protections for refugees.
The goal is to have two people from each of New England's 21 congressional districts travel to Washington, D.C., for a day of advocacy training and practice that will prepare them for meetings with their senators and representatives the following day.
Recruiting is underway in all seven of the Episcopal dioceses in New England that make up Province I of the Episcopal Church, according to the Rev. Dr. Jean Baptiste Ntagengwa, Canon for Immigration and Multicultural Ministries for the Diocese of Massachusetts. There is limited capacity, so online registration is necessary. Register here.
Registration does not include housing or transportation, but Ntagengwa is working to put funds together so that some financial assistance will be available for those who need it. He invites inquiries from anyone who is interested in making the trip (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-482-4826, ext. 400).
"The hope is to equip this group with training and an opportunity to meet the people representing us in Congress and have a voice on a concern that is prominent, and when we come back, we can use the training to continue our advocacy," Ntagengwa said.
It will also be a valuable opportunity for building relationships with elected leaders and with one another, he said.
"Politics is a part of living and working together, even when we have different views or understanding, and a way to find common ground when we go about it in a way that's constructive," he said. "I don't think there is anything that should limit people of faith from being led by love, Jesus' love, God's love, to talk with their representatives, especially on issues that speak to their faith."