This past year has been full of action for MOP Grand Rapids in our continuing work for comprehensive immigration reform. We have held rallies in Garfield Park, La Nueva Esperanza United Methodist Church, and in front of the offices of both Rep. Vern Ehlers and Senator Debbie Stabenow.
Twice we sent buses full of people to Washington DC for marches there, and we also organized a very well-attended immigration reform prayer service that enjoyed support from a broad and diverse group of churches.
In addition to this work mobilizing people for action, we have put on a number of educational forums at churches and colleges to inform people about how our immigration system is broken and how it could be fixed in a way that would honor our values.
Rebuilding our coalition of churches has been our other main focus. A racially and denominationally diverse group of pastors is coming together monthly to further develop the formal structure of MOP Grand Rapids and help plan our next steps together as a coalition.
While there are many other congregations out there to enfold, the diversity and unity of our current group will be a strong foundation as we move forward in building the broad coalition we will need to be effective in our work for justice.
A very important step of the coalition-building process is developing lay leaders from among the member churches who can stand with their pastor in equipping and mobilizing their congregation for justice. Meeting with potential lay leaders from committed churches will be a major priority for this fall, and it is our hope to have more than thirty strong leaders by next early next year to participate in a multi-day community organizing conference.
In addition to teaching our new leaders the nuts and bolts of church-based community organizing, this conference will be a great opportunity to expand the spirit of unity already forming within our pastors’ group to our group of lay leaders.
The vast majority of the work of MOP is done by leaders from the member organizations, all of whom work on a non-paid, volunteer basis. Persons who are not part of a MOP member organization are also welcome to serve in the same capacity, although major decisions are reserved for those who are official members.
MOP is also very dedicated to helping people learn more how to build grass roots power and bring about social change in the community through volunteer opportunities and internships.
Executive Director John Musick is qualified to provide academically sanctioned supervision for graduate and undergraduate programs with several local colleges and universities. Other volunteer programs can also be arranged to meet a wide range of interests and schedules.
Persons of color and anyone speaking Spanish are particularly encouraged to apply.