Worship Service

Interfaith Service of Prayer, Renewal, and Action on Immigration
Lyndale United Church of Christ, Minneapolis, MN
February 22, 2009

The Torah tells us: “The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19: 33-34).

In the Christian New Testament, Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger for “What you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do unto me” (Mathew 25:40).

The Qur’an tells us that we should “serve God…and do good to…orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer that you meet, and those who have nothing.” (4:36)

The Hindu scripture Taitiriya Upanishad tells us: “The guest is a representative of God.”

Piano music, Processional music

Welcome   Rev. Don Portwood

Opening Words Rev. Paula Bidle

Opening Prayer Rev. Don Christensen

Source of Life who is known by many names;
Over-turner and illuminator of hearts;
   we gather with gratitude for the earth and all who journey in it.
   We give thanks for the interconnectedness of all creation.
Source of justice who is known by many names;
   let us not swerve from the path of righteousness
   that leads to just and equitable relationships.
Open our eyes that we may see the immigrant and undocumented;
   whose labor enables and sustains our living;
   the farm worker, the hotel worker, the line cook,
   the childcare provider, the healthcare worker;
Give us the will to leave behind the safety of our sanctuaries to become your living sanctuary;
   and claim our place in the movement to transform creation;
   that our voice, our heart, our spirit will
   join the voice, hear and spirit of all who
   demand to live with respect, justice, and peace.
(Adapted from Jews United for Social Justice by Rev. Loren McGrail, UCC Chaplain, Minneapolis, MN)

Opening Song    We Are Not Our Own (stanzas 1,2,4,& 6) #564 New Century Hymnal
Lighting of candles for those who have died on the border or in the detention centers, for all those who have suffered from our broken immigration system.


Native American  Wilma Lawrence
Jewish Prayer   Rabbi Davis
Post Postville Raid Rev. Matt Perkus
Protestant Prayer  Rev. Judith VanOsdol

Song   Milagro Choir

Muslim Prayer Abdisalam Adam
Human Rights Michele Garnett McKenzie
Catholic Prayer  Sr. Lois Knipp

Song   Lead Us From Death to Life  #581    New Century Hymnal

Offering   Rev. John Gutterman

Song   “Cuando El Pobre”   El Milagro Choir


Bread for the Journey 
(Different kinds of bread are passed around in baskets among the pews with people invited to say “blessing for the journey and work ahead.”)

Prayer of Commitment    Written by Rev. Loren McGrail
One: Caring, Just One, you have created us in your likeness. We are all part of your holy family.

Many: We commit ourselves to welcome the stranger in our midst not only because we were once strangers but because we are kin.
One: Caring, Just One, you invite us to offer hospitality because that is where we can find you; where we can find ourselves entertaining angels.

Many: We commit ourselves to opening our hearts to this reality and basing our social justice work on this principle of divine equality.

One: Caring, Just One, you have asked us to read the landscape of our fears, the terrain of other peoples’ sorrow and turn our borders into bridges of compassion.

Many: We commit ourselves to not live in fear and work toward the creation of humane borders that acknowledge that no human being is illegal for seeking the right to work and feed their family.

One: Caring, Just One, you have asked us to stand up to the powers and principalities that destroy human dignity.

Many:  We commit ourselves to creating a fair immigration system that recognizes immigrants’ full humanity and eliminates barriers to their full participation in our society.

One: Caring, Just One you have asked us to create just laws for all of your people.

Many: We commit ourselves to voting no to punitive legislation that deprives immigrants of due process or civil rights and yes to laws that protect and ensure these rights.

One: Caring, Just One you created this world and all that is in it and it is good.

Many: We commit ourselves to its preservation through changing our lifestyles based on limitless consumption and thus limitless exploitation of others.

One:  The Caring and Just One has prepared us to be living sanctuaries for love and justice.  May we cross all the boundaries that separate us from our own true self and from others.  May we know the joy and the suffering of interconnectedness.  May we have the wisdom and courage to say no to unjust laws that deprive people of their dignity and rights. May our solidarity with immigrants be a transforming power in the world. May we work together to restore and rebuild our beloved communities.  

Blessing   Rev. Luisa Cabello Hansel

Call to Action   Vic Rosenthal

Sending Song    We are Marching in the Light of God   #526 New Century Hymnal

Music by Mindy Eschedor, Music Director of Lyndale UCC

Prayer leaders and Speakers; Rev. Don Portwood, Pastor of Lyndale UCC; Rev. Paula Bidle, Chaplain and member of the UCC Coordinating Committee for Humane Immigration Reform and member of Lyndale UCC; Rev. Don Christensen, Co-chair of Emmaus Anti-Racism Team of MN Conference UCC, member of Coordinating Committee and member of Macalester Plymouth UCC; Wilma Lawrence, Co-chair of Emmaus Anti-Racism Team of MN Conference UCC and member of Mayflower UCC; Rabbi Davis from Beth El Synagogue; Rev. Matt Perkus, Pastor of Congregational Church UCC of Decorah, Iowa; Rev. Judith VanOsdol, Pastor of El Milagro Lutheran Church; Abdisalam Adam from Dar-Al Hijirah Cultural Center; Michele Garnett-McKenzie from Advocates for Human Rights; Sr. Lois  Knipp from Holy Rosary; Rev. John Gutterman, member of MN Conference of Justice and Witness Team, member of UCC Coordinating Committee and member of New Brighton UCC; Rev. Loren McGrail, chaplain, member of UCC Coordinating Committee, Emmaus Anti-Racism team and Lyndale UCC; Rev. Luisa Cabello Hansel from St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church; Vic Rosenthal, Executive Director of Jewish Community Action.

Planning Committee for Prayer: UCC Coordinating Committee for Humane Immigration Reform, Lyndale United Church of Christ, and Jewish Community Action.

Many thanks to many others who have provided food and beverages, time and energy.

Any checks should be made out to St. Bridget’s Church