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'The Stranger' screenings spotlight immigration

June 9, 2014
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'The Stranger' screenings spotlight immigration
A shot from "The Stranger" documentary on immigration reform. Photo via youtube.com

Churches in the region are hosting screenings of a documentary intended to encourage immigration reform.

The Christian Reformed Church's Office of Social Justice is hosting a screening of the documentary film “The Stranger” tonight at 7 p.m. in Grand Rapids at Celebration! Cinema North, at 2121 Celebration Drive NE.

The 40-minute documentary highlights biblical teachings related to immigrants through three personal stories and interviews with local and national Christian leaders, according to the film’s website.

“The Stranger” was released last week and was commissioned by the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform.

After the screening of the documentary, the church will host a discussion at the theater with local leaders on the "urgency of immigration reform."

Several people will make up the panel: Liz Balck, senior regional attorney at National Justice for Our Neighbors; Christy Knetsch, director of youth ministry at Madison Square Church; Eric Sarwar, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan; and Tito Venegas, bilingual worship leader from Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church.

The church said the film addresses how the national immigration system creates a burden on churches, families and communities.

"We are having the screening to help personalize the issue of immigration for the people of West Michigan, so they can hear the real stories of immigrants without options in this country and the impact it is having on our economy and our culture," said Kate Kooyman, immigration reform organizer, Christian Reformed Church.

Kooyman added that the screening is meant to encourage Christians to think about immigration reform not only from economic, political and public safety views, but also from a Christian view.

More screenings

The film is scheduled to have more than 500 screenings in at least 30 states — including various events in West Michigan.

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