Twelve years ago I answered the call of a congregation in Canada.
As an American, I envisioned the moved to be rather seamless. “How hard could it be to move from the United States to Canada? And once there, how difficult would the transition be, after all we’re so similar and everything.”
In retrospect I realize how naïve I was. Moving from one sovereign nation to another is never without its challenges. I soon learned that my wife couldn’t work in Canada. Our family had relied upon two incomes. My salary as a pastor was insufficient to cover all of the costs of a growing family. My son who was in his last year of high school couldn’t get a Summer job to pay for college…and to make matters worse, we were facing tuition fees reserved for foreigners. My daughter had to retake several courses she already had mastered in the U.S., because Canada would not accept much of her academic transcript.
Of course it works both ways. Had we moved from Canada to the United States we would have faced the same impediments and challenges.
Despite these hardships, pastors, priests, imams, rabbis, missionaries and religious workers continue to accept positions across international borders.
Unfortunately, our religious institutions offer little advice or guidance to those answering this call. Many find themselves in the same situation as my family did all those years ago… and it causes tremendous unnecessary stress. I can vouch that it affects one’s family, ministry and general well-being.
This year, after almost 25 years as an ordained pastor, I retired from parish ministry to pursue my first vocation as a lawyer.
I want to make international moves for clergy and religious workers and their families as seamless and trouble-free as possible. I am offering my services as an immigration lawyer and specialist, both in U.S. and Canadian law, to those who you know are anticipating a move either from Canada to the U.S. or vice versa. And, I can also assist those coming from other countries to North America as well.
Because I view this as a ministry, I am willing to substantially reduce the legal fees usually associated with these matters. My utmost aim is to see the joy in the lives of those who answer God’s call outside of their homeland…and to help, if even in a small way, to make that joy complete.
Please contact us if you would like to receive a free copy of our Fact Sheets on religious worker immigration to Canada and the U.S. or our booklet on Clergy Immigration.
Lastly, a special note to seminaries and denominational colleges and universities… as you know, international students who are considering enrolling in your institution need special assistance. I can help the student in securing the proper student visa and work permits for their families, and ensure that they remain in proper immigration status during their studies.
If you would like my firm to offer a seminar or presentation to your ministry leadership on these topics or would simply like to meet personally, please contact me. I always look forward to meeting fellow sojourners.
Terry N. Hursh, M.Div., J.D.