I hope that everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July celebration last week!
You may recall we began a look at the issue of immigration reform last week, acknowledging Executive Council’s recent resolution (see the wording of this resolution here – https://edomiresolutions.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/gift-of-liberty-applies-to-immigration-too/). With the increasing numbers of unaccompanied children crossing our borders, this is an important and timely issue. This week, the Episcopal News Service reported on the efforts of some of our brothers and sisters to show love to these children (http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2014/07/08/unprecedented-numbers-of-children-detained-crossing-the-border/). Should we be tempted to think there’s nothing we can do so far from the border, all we need to do is look at the example of the Rev. Susan Copley, rector of Christ Episcopal Church and San Marcos Mission in New York Tarrytown, N.Y. Rev. Copley, with volunteers from her congregation, shares the work of radical hospitality at Abbott House, a regional community-based human services agency: “In addition to making weekly visits, where they play games with the boys and conduct an abbreviated Eucharist in Spanish, church members pray for the children and mobilize to support them. In one afternoon, its English-and Spanish-speaking congregations raised $1,000 to buy shoes for the children, some of whom arrived at Abbott House without any footwear.” You can find more information about Abbott House here – http://www.abbotthouse.net/
When I think of all these children, I am reminded immediately of Jesus’ words in Matthew:
…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 4And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’ (Matt 25:35-40).
So what can you and I do? First, let me suggest reading the whole article from ENS linked above. You’ll find that some of the churches along the border are in need of supplies for the children and you can contact them to join in their efforts. It doesn’t take much to organize a drive in our congregations which can be sent to a church engaged in this mission. Abbott House is having a clothing drive for the children’s needs – http://www.abbotthouse.net/?page_id=6145 I would also suggest that we all look around us. Do we have some of these children in our own diocese, coming to stay with families in Michigan? Let us know if you become aware of needs within your own community so that we can reach out to be Jesus’s hands and heart for these beloved children of God. Finally, did you know that The Episcopal Church has an office of Migration Ministries? This link will give you more information on how our Household is working together in response to this crisis – http://episcopalmm.org/how_you_can_help/latest_child_migrants.aspx
Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ.
You crossed every border
between Divinity and humanity
to make your home with us.
Help us to welcome you in newcomers,
migrants and refugees.
Blessed are You, God of all nations.
You bless our land richly
with goods of creation
and with people made in your image.
Help us to be good stewards and peacemakers,
who live as your children.
Blessed are You, Holy Spirit.
You work in the hearts of all
to bring about harmony and goodwill.
Strengthen us to welcome those
from other lands, cultures, religions,
that we may live in human solidarity
and in hope.
God of all people, grant us vision
to see your presence in our midst,
especially in our immigrant sisters and brothers.
Give us courage to open the door to our
neighbors and grace to build a society of justice, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. Amen. (Pax Christi)