Presbyterian Immigrant MinistryI was a stranger and you invited me in, … I was in prison and you came to visit me – Matthew 25:35-36
Who we are
Welcome to Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry(PIM) website. Whether you have experienced a broken immigration system firsthand, are an ally of those who have, or simply wish to learn more, you will find Biblical resources to guide your prayers and the opportunity to help us directly impact hundreds of detained immigrants.
Begun in August 2011, as a specialized ministry, Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry is an outgrowth of the Rev. Gerson Annunciacao’s ministry when he served Christ is Life Presbyterian Church in Fall River, MA. In response to pleas for help from worried family members, he began visiting incarcerated fellow Brazilians and then started Bible study groups among them. Through these Bible studies, he not only ministered to their fears and needs but also helped them to minister to one another. In 2011, he decided to leave parish ministry and devote himself to this full-time. Although Rev. Gerson moved to Utah, PIM continues the important work of this timely ministry.
This ministry began its work in the Plymouth Country Correctional Facility in Plymouth, MA, and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office in Dartmouth, MA. At the end of October 2011, there were 70 participants in its Bible study groups (13% of the immigrant population of those two facilities). About half were Brazilians; the other half came from fifteen other countries. They included residents of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and Florida. In January 2012, similar groups were started in the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Boston. Nowadays most of the inmates are Spanish-speaking people.
The mission of Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry is to “to provide pastoral assistance to incarcerated immigrants with an increasing involvement of congregations.” It seeks to carry out this mission by:
- Providing regular visits to correctional facilities in New England for the purpose of Bible study, prayer, counseling, and building up supportive communities. In doing so, it will offer incarcerated immigrants both practical advice and spiritual empowerment to deal with the challenges they face.
- Providing news of incarcerated immigrants to their families, who know little or nothing about what is happening to them, along with appropriate assurance and advice.
- Sharing with Presbytery and congregations information about immigration issues, immigrant ministry, and the situation of incarcerated immigrants in the hope of motivating them to appropriate action on the immigrants’ behalf.
- Financial support; PIM is entirely supported by the generous donations and tithes of people and churches;
- The Holy Spirit to move in the prisons, freeing their hearts despite their physical bondage;
- Strength, wisdom, and discernment for those ministering to our Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry: Rev. Alonso Dacunha, Rev. Paulo Ribeiro, Elder Katia Dacunha for the well being of their respective families.
- For more specifics prayers, read our newsletters.
TESTIMONIES FROM INCARCERATED IMMIGRANTS
For prison INFORMATION
Broken system This video is 4 years old–we need something more current.
Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry was created to serve immigrants who were in prison awaiting deportation, and to provide spiritual support for prisoners’ families. The seeds of this ministry were sown by Rev. Gerson Annunciaçao who began visiting Brazilian immigrants who were in this condition. With the increasing number of imprisoned Brazilian immigrants, such visits became more urgent and thus more frequent. It was necessary then, instead of individual visits, to hold collective meetings that could accommodate many inmates. With such a format, the opportunity came to conduct Bible studies in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility initially serving several Brazilian prisoners. Gradually, Portuguese, Cape Verdeans, and people from Spanish-speaking countries started to attend.
Today’s Bible studies have developed into 6 weekly meetings. There are three groups at the Plymouth County Facilities and 3 at the Bristol County jails.
Feeling God’s call to expand this program to other prisons, Rev. Gerson shared his vision with friends, and among these, Rev. Dana Lindsley, who was then the Executive of the Presbytery of Southern New England. Rev. Dana adopted the vision and guided the creation of a Steering Committee and an Advisory Committee, bringing people who share this vision together to bring comfort and hope to imprisoned immigrants through the Gospel of Christ.
PIM is a validated ministry of the Presbytery Southern New England and recognized as one of the PC(USA) 1001 New Worshiping Communities. At the core of this ministry are Bible study groups among immigrants in prison facing deportation. These are led weekly by the Rev. Alonso Dacunha and Rev. Paulo Ribeiro among male prisoners in three prisons in Massachusetts and by-weekly by Ms. Katia Dacunha among women at the Suffolk County Prison in Boston. Bible studies have been conducted in Portuguese, English, and now Spanish.
The Steering Committee is in charge of raising and managing funds under the aegis of the Presbytery of Southern New England.
Rev. John Webster, Elder Penny Webster, Rev. Jeffrey Wood, Rev. Jovelino Ramos, Ms. Joan Ramos, Ms. Kátia Dacunha, and Rev. Paulo de Tarso Ribeiro.
Rev. Dana Lindsley, Rev. Dr. José Pezini, Rev. Wayne Parish, Rev. Dr. Mário Silva, Rev. Jefferson Ritchie, Rev. David Watermulder, Rev. Cláudio Carvalhaes
Please send your tax-deductible donations to:
Presbytery of Southern New England
P.O. Box 388
Chester, CT 06412
Important: Note PIM on your donation.
Or give online, clicking here
Select Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry
Subscribe to PIM’s newsletter
We’ll email you a copy of our newsletter, no more than one time per month. It will keep you informed on what’s happening with Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry in PSNE.