Article submitted by Michael Rench
Representatives of twelve congregations came together on February 19, 2019 at Faith Lutheran Church, Wilmington, to form the Southern Ohio Synod AMMPARO Network. These congregations from Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus are all involved in exploring or participating in the ELCA’s AMMPARO ministry strategy.
AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities), is the ELCA strategy that was approved by the 2016 Churchwide Assembly to address migration and violence in Central America. This project provides local congregations an opportunity to support migrant children and their families in a number of ways. Some congregations assist migrants in the complex process of applying for citizenship. Others provide transportation, English as a second language classes, and settlement aid such as food, clothing and shelter. A congregation can become a 'Welcoming Congregation' and offer support while some become 'Sanctuary Congregations' and house immigrants who are facing deportation.
The AMMPARO Network of Southern Ohio Synod is made up of congregations at all stages of involvement with migrant families. Several are Welcoming Congregations, several are exploring becoming Welcoming Congregations and one is providing sanctuary. The purpose of the Network is to provide mutual support and information to participating congregations. The other purpose it to encourage new congregations to join the AMMPARO program.
To help further educate congregations about AMMPARO and the Network, the group is presenting a workshop at the Southern Ohio Synod Assembly in June. They will also have a booth in Ministries, Vendors and Partners (MVP) Display section of the Assembly Hall, so if you're going to assembly, stop by and/or be a part of the workshop to learn more and have your questions answered!
The Network meets quarterly and the next meeting is scheduled for August 13, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church in Wilmington. The Network is chaired by Michael Rench, member of Trinity Lutheran Church Mt. Healthy in Cincinnati. He may be contacted at email@example.com