Immigrant Rights Sunday

The first Sunday in May, May 4th, has been designated Immigrant Rights Sunday within the United Church of Christ.  Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries are urging congregations to lift up immigrants on this day: 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.

Welcoming the stranger is an edict from God to the people of God (Deuteronomy 10:17-19).  But too often the strangers among us are rejected and treated like enemies. 

On the first Sunday in May, Congregations are encouraged to include stories about immigrants in their worship service.  This is an opportunity to learn their stories and share them.

Prayer and Worship Resources

Additional worship resources.

Take Action

Act To Reunite Families And Heal Immigrant Communities
Our broken immigration system tears families and communities apart. Call on President Obama his executive authority to stop deportations! Take action now.

Reflection: UCC Immigrant Rights Sunday and the Road to Emmaus

Written By Rev. Noel Andersen | Download
Lectionary text Luke 24:13-35

We are in midst of humanitarian crisis because of our broken immigration system. Over the last five years two million people have been deported, more than five hundred people die in the desert every year trying to cross to the United States, while over the last two years 200 thousand parents of U.S. citizen children have been deported leaving families separated. As people of faith, we are called to act, and we have been acting. The United Church of Christ leaders have been very involved in the push for immigration reform across the country leading vigils, and rallies, meeting with congresspersons, signing letters and calling on our decision makers.

We have been a critical ally in the immigrants’ rights movement that has continued to grow stronger every day. Although we celebrated a victory of the Senate immigration bill passing in 2013, we haves still not seen the House of Representatives take any significant action on immigration.

It is easy to want to give up on this issue and move onto something else, many of us have felt dismayed by the divided nature of political parties in Washington DC. Just as many times along the journey of life, we grow so weary and frustrated we want to give up all together. Perhaps the disciples felt this way after Good Friday, their aspirations of political revolution were shattered by the empire’s tight fist clamping down on any leadership that challenged their authority. Yet, beyond belief, the stone was rolled away from the tomb and in the story of Luke, Jesus was revealed as a stranger walking along the road to Emmaus.

Suddenly the story of resurrection, life conquering death, is shown through those brief moments in which the disciples provide hospitality to a stranger that turns out to be our resurrected Lord, his true self only revealed to them after breaking bread together and sharing a meal.

Today, the need for our continued to struggle for immigrant justice is revealed in the stories of immigrants that we hear in our congregations, families separated, parents ripped away from children. We are called to show hospitality to these strangers who have become our neighbors, and by doing so we have surly entertained angels without knowing it.

When we feel dismayed about the political sparring around immigration reform and the lack of progress, we must continue on, just as the disciples did. Now we find there is more than one strategy, that we can also call upon our President to halt the deportations and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program to include all undocumented immigrants. This immigrants’ rights Sunday, together we can help push our President to take bold action, and keep families together, please send the President a letter today.

As we grow more united, we grow stronger everyday, now is the time for action as we walk our own road to Emmaus.

More Resources on Immigrants and Immigration


Rev. Maria E. Castellanos
Policy Advocate and Writer
100 Maryland Avenue, NE
Room #330
Washington, District of Columbia 20002