Episcopal Church response to crisis on the border

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Released by the Episcopal Church yesterday:

July 2, 2019

Over the past several weeks, The Episcopal Church has responded to the reports of inhumane conditions for children and other asylum seekers in government custody in a number of ways. This response includes calls for donations and goods from Episcopal dioceses on the border, prayers for those seeking safety, efforts to engage in advocacy, and pastoral messages from bishops around the Church.

“We are children of the one God who is the Creator of us all,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. “It is our sisters, our brothers, our siblings who are seeking protection and asylum, fleeing violence and danger to children, searching for a better life for themselves and their children. The crisis at the border is not simply a challenge of partisan politics but a test of our personal and public morality and human decency.”

The Episcopal Church, through the Office of Government Relations (OGR) and Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), has compiled a list of resources, bishop statements, and information in response to the ongoing humanitarian situation at the southern border.

“Reports of poor care for children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody and continued policies to limit access to asylum are extremely concerning to people of faith. We must remember these children are here because they cannot find safety anywhere else,” stated Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director of The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations. “The U.S. has an established system to process asylum seekers, who are coming to the U.S. legally. The response to asylum seekers who are desperate and afraid should not be deterrence or detention. We have the capability to respond in a humane and compassionate manner, and I am grateful for everyone in The Episcopal Church who is responding to this crisis.”

The list of resources for education and support is available on the EMM website at https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/response-to-the-border-educatio… and will continue to be updated with ways to learn more and take action. The OGR and EMM webinar with Bishop Michael Hunn of the Diocese of Rio Grande will be made available on-demand through this website as well.

“The enormity of the challenge is daunting. It is easy to feel helpless to make a difference. While we cannot do everything, we can do something,” said Curry.  “The links to resources of bishops and dioceses on the border, the Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries offer practical suggestions for how we can each and together do something.”

The Office of Government Relations represents the policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. This office aims to shape and influence policy and legislation on critical issues, highlighting the voices and experiences of Episcopalians and Anglicans globally. All of its work is grounded in the resolutions of General Convention and Executive Council, the legislative and governing bodies of the church. Connecting Episcopalians to their faith by educating, equipping and engaging them to do the work of advocacy through the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) is a key aspect of this work.

Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of The Episcopal Church and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government. Episcopal Migration Ministries currently has 13 affiliate offices in 12 states. To directly support EMM and its life-changing work, visit www.episcopalmigrationministries.org/give or text ‘EMM’ to 41444 (standard messaging and data may rates apply).

Image from Episcopal Migration Ministries: Rodrigo Martinez, 4, listens as his father, Rene, describes his recent experience being detained. Martinez has been waiting without work since his arrest in March and faces being deported and separated from his family.

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Steve Price
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Steve Price

The media has reported instances of people offering humanitarian aid in the form of water and food to these migrants being harassed and even arrested.Dr.Martin Luther King might have responded to that by organizing his own caravan carrying humanitarian aid from Washington and being joined in by others as it crossed country moving toward the border.In his absence would the Episcopal Church dare take up that challenge?

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Francie Kendall
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Francie Kendall

I would hope so. It will take courage and belief in what we have been commanded to do. What are the highest needs for the people in camps? Where do we send supplies to them? And what are the chances that the “hostages” will be able to have access to what is sent?

Lord, come by here.

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