Requesting Humanitarian Assistance for Families Seeking Asylum
“He has risen…he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.” (Mark 16:6-7)
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn. Your healing will spring up quickly.” (Isaiah 58:6-8)
Dear Friends in Christ,
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Despite the limitations of masks and distance, Easter comes. The stone is rolled away, our Lord is risen, and darkness flees away. So that we will not make the mistake of thinking the Sunday morning Paschal Feast is all there is to it, the Spirit-led Church gives us fifty days of Easter. Fifty days to practice resurrection. Fifty days to work out this gift of salvation and new creation, so that we might live like Easter people day-by-day and year-round. We are called to look for the light of the resurrection, and to see all life, all people, in the light of the risen Son of God. Easter reminds us that there is no place where Christ’s light does not bring light.
The women who go to the tomb become the first witnesses to the resurrection and are told to go and tell the other disciples that the risen Christ is “going before you to Galilee.” Whatever else that might mean, it is a promise that the disciples will encounter Jesus alive in ordinary, familiar places and in the faces of fellow travelers on the road. In the same way, we are called to look with hope and expectation for his presence among us, and among our neighbors.
A quick study of the parables will confirm that our neighbors include those seeking asylum who are waiting along the 500-mile border shared by the Diocese of West Texas and Mexico, as well as the families, individuals, and unaccompanied children traveling through our communities on their way to family members or sponsors all across the United States, as part of the immigration process.
Over the past year, diocesan Immigration Ministries has worked closely with relief organizations, immigration authorities, local governments, and ecumenical partners to meet these urgent humanitarian needs. However, the situation has changed and expanded rapidly in recent months and will continue to shift as time goes on. The dismantling of the Migrant Protection Protocols and the previous immigrant detention system combined with pandemic precautions has challenged support organizations, who are struggling to meet the basic human needs of our neighbors today, as they travel through our Diocese.
Help in the Name of the risen Christ is needed. We cannot fix everything, but we can, by grace, offer Easter light to people who have traveled a long way in darkness. I encourage you and your congregation to consider how you might bring the light of Christ to our asylum-seeking brothers and sisters during these Great Fifty Days of Easter.
The most immediate and urgent needs are for volunteers, as the pandemic allows; for food and other basic necessities; and for temporary housing.
Volunteers are needed once again to welcome asylum-seekers at local bus stations across the Diocese and to transport people from the bus station to the local airport or temporary housing. In some situations, people experience delays before starting the next leg of their journey, and they need housing in motels, shelters, or homes. Many of our churches along the border are ministering directly to asylum-seekers in a variety of different ways. Some need volunteers; all need donations of money and various in-kind necessities.
We are called to serve these individuals and families who have endured a long, arduous journey from their home countries. Many are fleeing religious persecution, war, violence, and human-trafficking. All want what we all want for our loved ones: a better life and a chance to live free, safely and peaceably. When we welcome these weary strangers, we participate with our Lord in bringing his Kingdom closer. As we live as Easter people beyond Easter morning, we have received grace and power to shine a light on the road they are traveling.
There are many opportunities for individuals and congregations to serve in your local community, to participate in Diocesan-wide ministries, and to learn more about this ongoing outreach ministry on the Immigration Ministries page. You can also click here to watch a video update on the West Texas border, hosted by Immigration Ministries on Friday, March 26 (password: immigration).
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
David M. Reed
Bishop of West Texas