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Bible Study

Community Dialogue on Immigrants and Immigration Laws

Role Play Exercise - One Hour


  • To better understand the complexities of issues and relationships in communities experiencing growth in immigrant population
  • To think about the perspectives of different group within the community with an opportunity for honest sharing
  • To consider different strategies for working together as a community
  • To consider options for 'faithful' responses


Prepare copies of the Community Dialogue description for each participant.

Arrange chairs or tables in the room so that the group can be subdivided into five groups representing the five groups to participate in the dialogue.

Prepare a slip for each participant with name of one of the five groups.

As participants enter give each person an identity slip and ask them to sit near others of their identity group.

If possible have newsprint or a black board available to record group reports and proposals.

Introduction to the Role Play

Facilitator 1

We'd like to welcome you to this community meeting. United Methodist Women are concerned about changes that are occurring in our community. We believe that the only way to begin to work on our problems is to come together and discuss them. All of us have a stake in the future of this community.

As you can see we have asked you to sit in five groups. These groups represent five different groups that live and work in our community:

# 1 - Long-Time Residents

# 2 - Long-Time Residents - Minimum Wage Workers

# 3 -- Managers of the Chicken Processing Factory

# 4 -- United Methodist Women Volunteering with Justice for Our Neighbors

# 5 -- Immigrant Workers

Before we begin our general discussion, please have some preliminary discussion within each of these groups. Begin your discussion by reading together the background information on our role play community. The first task for the group is to discuss your feelings and attitudes about the present situation in our community. It will be helpful if you can identify the race and ethnicity of members within your group. We will have 10 minutes for these discussions and then we will come back together to hear from each group.

Small Group Discussions (10 minutes)

Reporting Back - Sharing Our Perspectives

Facilitator 2

Shall we begin with the Long Time Residents? Our recorder (Facilitator 1) will take brief notes so all of us can keep track of what has been said. Each group will have two minutes to share their feelings and concerns.

Let each of the five groups report in order of their time of arrival without comment from others. However, you may want to give opportunity for persons to ask brief questions of clarification.

After hearing all the reports, it is hoped that each participant will have a better understanding of each other and how each of our groups defines the situation.

In light of what has been said, please go back into your groups for another ten minutes and try to develop a proposal for solutions to several of the perceived problems. They may be addressed to specific "other" groups or they might be proposals for all to consider. Remember to keep in mind your original attitudes and concerns while seeking ways to work together. These are problems that cannot be solved easily. (20 minutes)

Small Group Discussion

General Discussion - Sharing Our Proposals

Facilitator 1

Let's come back together for 20 minutes of general discussion. Who wants to make the first proposal? (From this point on, let the discussion flow freely. Encourage groups to enter into the discussion, reacting to other proposals, presenting their own, making compromises and counter proposals. After 20 minutes, call the discussion to a close. It is not necessary to come to final resolution of the issues. Again, it may be helpful to record the suggestions on newsprint or a blackboard.)

Wrap Up

Facilitator 2

In the ten minutes we have left, let's make a list of some things that we learned from this role play, or perhaps, some ideas that it gives us about how we ought to proceed as United Methodist Women. Record these suggestions and ideas for later action.

Closing Prayer or Song

Last Updated: 03/17/2014

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