Who cannot be moved and disturbed at the news from our southern border of little children living amid squalor and deprivation in detainment?
Our Bishop has written about this matter in the previous post, and I want to add a little of what I know.
In conversation with Paul Moore, the rector of St. Paul’s/Resurrecion Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon, I received first-hand information about the work in which he was engaged recently at the border. He called my attention to a work directed by Deacon Roger Babnew of St. Andrew’s Church in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. The effort is called Cruzando Fronteras. The mission, supported jointly by the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and the regional synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, is described in the following five points:
• Prayer and relational action with those involved in global mission along the Arizona/Sonora corridor;
• Humanitarian advocacy for migrants, refugees, detainees, and all who live in Las Fronteras;
• Promotion of comprehensive immigration reform;
• Expanded church relationships with Lutheran & Anglican communities in Mexico, Latin America & globally;
• Latino/Hispanic congregational development in the region
Paul is planning to attend the second Episcopal Border Ministries Summit this November in Tuscon. I plan to attend this three-day event as well, in order to learn first-hand about what the situation is and how we as a Church on both sides of the border are responding.
Last December Episcopal Relief and Development published this article about efforts on both sides of the border with Mexico, and includes information about the ministry of Cruzando Fronteras.
Gifts given to the International Disaster Fund of Episcopal Relief and Development help support the humanitarian work with immigrants moving through Mexico.
The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande and their new bishop Michael Hunn (who visited St. Paul’s in Bellingham with Bishop Curry last year) is also involved in ministry at the border. You can learn more about that here.
I leave you with this thought. Much of our Bible (major portions of the Hebrew Scriptures) were written from exile in Babylon. Our faith ancestors were immigrants and exiles who were displaced by violence and war from their homes. Jeremiah gave voice to their pain when he wrote:
“…A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”
Jesus was himself a refugee, Matthew’s Gospel tells us.
Our political concern for immigration reform should not get in the way of a humanitarian response to immigrants, especially children who are on the run with their parents and guardians and relatives from violence and very real threats to their safety in their home countries.