The California-Nevada Conference Immigration Task Force recently gathered at the Conference Center in West Sacramento to plan its advocacy and training work. The task force is working with a volunteer interim coordinator.
Rolland (Rolly) Loomis will serve as the volunteer interim coordinator for the Immigration Task Force through June of this year. Loomis has been a pastor in local churches in the Desert Southwest Conference and a missionary in The United Methodist Church. He has worked along the Mexico and US border and has served in several African countries. He describes his life's work as "telling the stories of people who are struggling and suffering, for it is God's utmost desire for we human beings to be serving each other."
Linda Kuruhara, Chair of the Immigration Task Force, says, "Rolly came to help us to communicate more effectively as a Conference as to what churches are doing in their communities. Also, he has expertise south of us with some very vibrant ministries that can enhance our work."
Instant Connection had the following questions for Loomis as he begins his work with the immigration task force:
What are some of the plans for the near future for the immigration task force?
In the near future The Immigration Taskforce will send five or six leaders to a Western Jurisdiction Conference immigration training event in Los Angeles. This program will resource these leaders to train teams in their conferences, congregations and communities dedicated to embodying Christ’s solidarity with our immigrant and migrant sisters and brothers. The taskforce will organize itself around the needs of the immigrant communities and how the gifts and graces of the team’s members might best be used. The California-Nevada Conference website immigration pages will soon be refreshed to provide resources for the local church.
What are some the long term plans?
We will define, or redefine, the purpose of the taskforce in light of the current state of immigrant affairs. The taskforce will focus on several areas: defining the different levels of sanctuary churches and educating our churches on how they might become involved. We will look at reviving “Justice for Our Neighbors” (JFON), which will provide low cost or no cost legal services to immigrant communities. We will continue to provide “Know Your Rights” workshops. The taskforce will grow in members with many leaders among them who will spread the word among the local churches.
How do you see your role with the task force and the work ahead?
I see myself as one to step back to see the big picture and how I might help the team with networking in different areas. I hope to resource the team to get more involved at the jurisdictional, denominational and interfaith levels. I will network with local churches and encourage our team members to do the same.
What are some of the greatest challenges for the task force?
To be affective in a world where the immigration scene is ever changing and to adapt to current needs.
Anything else you want us to know?
I pray our team to become energized and to go out, getting our churches excited and active about immigrant ministry. I hope we might be more about engaging and resourcing local churches. I wish for immigration ministries to grow throughout the conference and that we might help spark the leadership to make that happen.