“Even if we have a lot to eat, and a place to sleep,” says Mark Lee, ”in China, there is no freedom. The government controls everything, including your religion. You have to do everything according to their ideology.

"In China," he adds, "you cannot believe in God in public."

The systematic persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in China has a long and well-documented history. However, the rise of General Secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping in 2012, coupled with a rise in the number of practicing Christians, has brought a corresponding increase of religious suppression in China. 

Perhaps even more sinister—and eerily reminiscent of the Mao era—the government is now policing Christian churches as a way to control the “hearts and minds” of their adherents.

“We could practice Christianity in secret, but then it became more difficult,” explains Mark. “But in America, you can freely worship. Here you can go to church every Sunday and have no fear of arrest.”

Read Mark Lee's story HERE

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AuthorPaul Fleck

New York Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), an immigration legal services ministry of the United Methodist Church, has announced the selection of Rev. Paul Fleck as its full-time executive director.  Fleck has been active in immigrant advocacy in the New York Conference, having served as a past co-chair of the Conference Immigration Task Force and, more recently, helped found the New Sanctuary CT coalition that provides safe space for immigrants in Connecticut facing deportation.
Rev. Marjorie Nunes, JFON’s board chair, welcomed Rev. Fleck as JFON’s executive director, and stated, “Paul’s passion for this ministry is evident, and we look forward to having him with us.” Fleck, who has several years experience as an attorney, had been serving the Hamden Plains UMC in Connecticut as its pastor. 
JFON operates immigration legal clinics at four locations in the Greater New York metropolitan area – Chinese UMC in Manhattan, Hicksville UMC on Long Island, John Wesley UMC in Brooklyn, and La Promesa Mission in Flushing.

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AuthorPaul Fleck

New York JFON is pleased to announce the hiring of Samantha (Sam) Blecher as a staff attorney. She will report to managing attorney TJ Mills. Sam will be joining the organization full-time, spending part of her time at the newly renovated office space at Hicksville United Methodist Church on Long Island, and part of her time at the Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Drive in Manhattan.

Sam passed the bar exam in July 2017 and will be admitted to the New York bar in a couple weeks. She has a particular experience with Special Immigrant Juvenile cases, and she is passionate about immigration law. She comes from private practice, so she is excited to be joining a nonprofit, and we are excited to welcome her to our team.

Her first day is Monday, February 5, 2018.

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AuthorPaul Fleck

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today on the front page of The New York Times there were two articles at the top of the page. These articles were about President Trump’s hate-filled words about people in Haiti and Africa and Senator Lindsay Graham’s response to those words.
 
These were the headlines.
 
On the back page of The New York Times there was a story about the detaining of the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, Ravi Ragbir, the threat of his deportation, and the attempts to secure his release.

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AuthorPaul Fleck

Earlier this year, we witnessed a miracle. One of our clients had entered the United States as an unaccompanied minor. Having entered without proper documents, the child was placed in accelerated deportation proceedings. However, his mother was able to locate his estranged father, who was a lawful permanent resident living in Virginia. The father had not seen his son since 3 months of age. When he learned of his son's presence in the United States, he agreed to do anything to help him. The father underwent a DNA test and filed a petition for his son. Based on this evidence and a successful legal petition, the son recently received lawful immigration status.

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AuthorPaul Fleck