Requesting Humanitarian Aid for Migrants in Texas
“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
-Edward Everett Hale
Dear Friends in Christ,
Our diocesan Immigration Ministries Coordinator, Flor Saldivar, has received an urgent request from the network of immigration agencies in South Texas regarding the imminent release of Haitian women and their children from detention centers by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These are families who have entered the legal immigration process and who will eventually join sponsors or family members in the United States.
The immediate need is for temporary housing for up to two weeks. Accommodations do not need to be in a private home, but can be a reservation in a motel or Airbnb as well, funded by donations from individuals, non-profits, and faith communities. From past experiences with migration and refugee ministry, we know that the release of detainees by ICE can happen somewhat unexpectedly, without much information ahead of time about the location or date for their release. Often, local officers don’t know how much notice they will get. If you or your church would like to assist in providing this basic human need directly, please contact Flor at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Patti and I are blessed to be able to support one of these families, in the name of Christ, as they continue on their journey, and I invite you to prayerfully consider joining us. Click here to make an online donation to the diocesan Emergency Immigration Housing Fund. Any amount will be welcome, and together we will make a real, life-saving difference in the lives of these children and their mothers.
Confined within the COVID-19 cycle as we all are, kept apart from one another and with so much normalcy lost or limited, it is easy to give in to a sense of despair or powerlessness. But Jesus calls us to look up and look outward, to seek him in the faces of others, and to love and serve him by serving our neighbors who are in need. We have received power from on high to share in the work of Christ’s Kingdom, and even the smallest gift, even a cup of cold water, will be blessed and multiplied. Count on it!
The topic of immigration remains incredibly complex and divisive, and good Christians will likely disagree on what ought to be done politically until the Second Coming. But there are plenty of points upon which we can agree, and plenty we are called to do as followers of Jesus. Reaching out our hands in love to those who are suffering is one thing we can do.
Lifting up our hands in prayer is another.
On Friday, August 6th at 7:00 p.m. our diocesan Immigrations Ministry is organizing a prayer vigil to begin an ongoing Migrant Cycle of Prayer for those impacted by the crisis at our border and invites all churches and individual parishioners to join in prayer for immigrants and refugees; for Customs and Border Patrol agents; for the 40 or so stations and detention centers within our Diocese; for people held in detention centers and the people who work within them; and for everyone who serves in ministries to care for all involved.
After the initial prayer vigil, the Immigrations Ministries will host weekly online gatherings for fifteen minutes of prayer, led by a rotation of diocesan clergy and inspired by a Cycle of Prayer laid out by Episcopal Migration Ministries.
The Episcopal clergy who created the cycle wrote, “Prayer is preparation for faithful action. We hope that this cycle of prayer galvanizes the Church Universal to discern how the Spirit is calling you and your community to support detained migrants, build relationships with those who disagree with you, and help build a more just world.”
More information about the prayer vigil and ongoing Migrant Cycle of Prayer online gatherings will be available soon; anyone interested in more information about this ministry and future opportunities can sign up for Immigrations Ministries updates and their newsletter. Meanwhile, I commend to you this prayer from Episcopal Migration Ministries:
O God, our great strength, help us to fix our eyes on you, trusting in your mercy. Help us to look into the world and discover that you are there, our Emmanuel. Strengthen us as we hold out open hearts and hands to the stranger, to the homeless, to the lonely, to the broken in mind and spirit. Stir us with your presence, your strength, and your love. All this we ask in the name of your Son, our Lord. Amen.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
+David M. Reed
Bishop of West Texas