From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:18:44


                      PROGRAM ON IMMIGRANTS 
                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
NEW YORK CITY--Troubled by criticisms it said were the result of 
misunderstanding and misreporting by the secular press, the Presbyterian 
World Service (PWS) Advisory Committee has reworked a grant program 
designed to help religious communities respond to the needs of immigrants. 
     In late April, PWS announced that it had set aside $20,000 of One 
Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds "for grants to church coalitions working 
against anti-immigrant initiatives in their communities or states." (see 
May 26 "News Briefs," #95148). 
     According to the Rev. Dan Rift, PWS coordinator, the action was 
misunderstood by some as a lobbying effort against specific legislation. 
The Religion News Service and "Washington Post," for instance, tied the 
program to California Proposition 187, which voters in that state approved 
last year. 
     In a prepared statement issued at its June 6 meeting here, the PWS 
Advisory Committee said, "We regret that this action has been misunderstood 
and miscast as supporting action against particular ballot propositions." 
     The committee rescinded its April action and voted to provide grants 
to middle governing bodies to: 
     * "provide places where the voices of refugees and immigrants can be 
heard and their contributions to our common life can be celebrated" 
     * "provide ways that congregations and communities might understand 
the impact of proposed programmatic and legislative changes in services to 
refugees and immigrants" 
     * "address places where untruth is being spread and where the basic 
rights of people are being denied purely because they are immigrants." 
     "We want to be very explicit about what we're trying to do and are 
willing to support," Rift explained. 
     The committee also agreed to fund the program out of appropriate 
restricted funds rather than with OGHS money.  "We know of some churches 
that may want to use their Peacemaking Offering money to support these 
efforts as well," Rift added. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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