Translate Page

Skokie church welcomes migrants as their neighbor

Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.

After hearing the news of hundreds migrants from Central and South America being bused to U.S. cities from Texas, Jesus Love UMC in Skokie put into action a way to help those arriving in their community. Since August more than 1,500 migrants have been bused to Chicago and they're now staying in temporary shelters and hotels (near O’Hare and in the suburbs). It's expected that buses with those seeking asylum will continue to arrive every week for the next several months—many with just the clothes on their back and without access to essential supplies necessary for survival.

Courtesy photo. 
Courtesy photo.

Jesus Love United Methodist Church is a part of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference.

In early September, NIC's Refugee Coordinator Rev. Jonathan Crail requested a meeting with all churches to find ways to offer assistance to the migrants arriving in Chicago, including setting up donation locations and working with World Relief to organize volunteers.

After an emergency meeting with the church’s “Love Your Neighbor” team, Jesus Love's congregation decided to serve in two ways: collecting donation items in the church and preparing one hundred $20 gift cards. Although it may not be a large amount, we thought our new neighbors might need the gift cards for purchasing feminine products, first aid supplies, etc. By doing this, we wanted to help our new neighbors feel a sense of relief

On September 25, our congregation came together to prepare the various donation items. We also made welcome cards with warm messages to go along with the gift cards. Each member of our church, including the children, had time to learn about who our “neighbors” are and how we should care for them.

After hearing that most of those who have arrived in Chicago this time around are from Venezuela, we wrote our messages in Spanish. Planning these projects and putting them into practice always reminds us that “serving others” comes back to us as a blessing.

A few days after we made the welcome cards, one of our church members let me know that 43 migrant children had enrolled in her children’s school and that her children and the new students would be taking classes alongside each other. I’m sure that this served as an important reminder for her family to always “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Lake North District Superintendent Brittany Isaac celebrated Jesus Love's act of kindness.

"All of these migrants who are finding a new home in the Chicago area will shape our city and suburbs for generations to come," said Isaac. "The better support we can give them now, the better our future will be collectively.”

The congregation was eager to help in a tangible way. Leaving aside the political debate on what is right or wrong, the church’s job is to show God’s love and goodwill to these wanderers, our neighbors who have lost their home. It is our job to make them feel loved, as they have been created as the image of God, just like us.

For more information on how to help with migrant assistance, visit

story submitted by Rev. Sun Hyung Jo, Jesus Love UMC

This story represents how United Methodist local churches through their Annual Conferences are living as Vital Congregations. A vital congregation is the body of Christ making and engaging disciples for the transformation of the world. Vital congregations are shaped by and witnessed through four focus areas: calling and shaping principled Christian leaders; creating and sustaining new places for new people; ministries with poor people and communities; and abundant health for all.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

©2023 United Methodist Communications. All Rights Reserved