Immigration Task Force
As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and to be welcoming to the newcomer in our land. The mission of the Forest Hill Church – Immigration Task Force (ITF) is to identify ways Forest Hill Church responds to this call.
We strive to respond to immigrants on an individual, organizational and institutional level.
The ITF serves as a clearinghouse for issues requiring financial support from FHC’s Justice & Mission committee; it makes recommendations and carries out related activities including education of FHC and the community at large about immigration challenges. The ITF also acts as a liaison between FHC and the Heights Friends of Immigrants group with whom they interface around similar goals and objectives.
The ITF in Action
After much discussion, planning and renovating a space in the church to accommodate immigrants seeking asylum, FHC became a Sanctuary Church in 2017. Learn more about our path to becoming a Sanctuary Church.
ITF Visits the Texas-Mexico Border
In February 2023, 15 members from Forest Hill Church traveled to the US southern border between South Texas and Matamoros, Mexico.
This trip was a natural evolution of the work of the FHC Immigration Task Force over the past seven years. Its purpose was to learn from and provide support to immigrants in need. And, most importantly, when they returned to their home communities, to share, as compassionate Christians, what was learned in this experience. “It’s one thing to read the headlines about the immigration crises [in the U.S.], but it’s far more real to see it up close,” said Stephen Sedam, a participant on the Border Trip.
An Experience of a Lifetime
The entire experience would not have been possible without the dedication, hospitality, and extensive network provided by host, Caly Fernandez, the Executive Director of Puentes de Cristo or “Bridges of Christ.” With good humor, boundless energy and deep compassion, Caly made this an experience of a lifetime, and the ITF of Forest Hill is deeply grateful to her.
As a result of this amazing experience, our ITF Border group has created an impactful presentation about the trip that they share with interested groups in the Cleveland area. If your church or organization would like more information about hosting a FHC Border Trip Presentation, contact Anne Smith.