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The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas shares approximately five hundred border miles with Mexico, along the Rio Grande River from Lake Amistad in Del Rio to Boca Chica Beach on the southernmost tip of the state. Individuals and churches along the border are responding to the needs of asylum seekers, as well as individuals in local law enforcement, in a variety of outreach and pastoral care ministries. In addition, the diocese has sent mission teams for decades into the countries from which many are fleeing today, seeking to sustainably improve the health, education and living conditions of vulnerable populations.

The Rt. Rev. David M. Reed shares, "Wherever we might fall politically, as Christians there are always Christ-like responses available to us. Whether it’s advocacy, prayer, giving a blanket to an asylum-seeker getting on a bus, handing a taco to a border patrol agent, or heading south on a mission trip - there are things you and your church can offer as followers of Jesus to share his love with others. Just remember to 'walk in love,' don’t yell, listen, and be humble and kind as you go."


Immigration Ministry Opportunities

COVID-19 Update: Due to the ongoing pandemic, all in-person outreach services have been temporarily suspended. Contact immigration@dwtx.org for more information or to be notified upon the return to in-person outreach.

Click here to give to the Emergency Immigration Housing Fund.

Click here to receive Immigration Ministries newsletters and announcements.

Immigration Ministries Brochure

Various ministries are taking place throughout the Diocese. Below is a list of those ministries grouped by convocations (geographical regions within the diocese). If your ministry is not listed, please send ministry details, including its primary focus, support needs, and a contact person from your congregation, to immigration@dwtx.org.

Want to start a backpack or lunch assembly ministry at your church? Inquiries may be sent to immigration@dwtx.org.

Valley Convocation

Team Brownsville - Humanitarian Assistance for Asylum Seekers

[Brownsville, TX] Team Brownsville crosses the Gateway International Bridge between Brownsville, TX and Matamoros, Mexico each day to serve breakfast and dinner to asylum seekers waiting to cross the bridge. It also gives supplies, like shoe laces or toys, to asylum seekers in La Plaza Bus Terminal in Brownsville. For more information, contact Andrea Rudnik.

Primary Needs:

  • Volunteers to serve in Brownsville: to prepare meals, serve meals on the bridge, or distribute shoe laces, toys, etc. in La Plaza Terminal. A current passport is mandatory to serve meals on the bridge.
  • Financial support: checks should be made out to "Church of the Advent" with "Team Brownsville" on the memo line, then sent to Church of the Advent (104 W. Elizabeth Street; Brownsville, TX 78520-5547). An online donation form is available, via PayPal, on Team Brownsville's website.

Acción de Gracia Immigration Assistance

[Weslaco and McAllen, TX] Acción de Gracia Immigration Assistance provides legal consultation to migrants who cannot afford it, or those that are not serviced through other organizations, helping people get the documentation they need. This volunteer led, non-profit organization hosts a free, monthly legal clinic at Grace Episcopal Church, Weslaco, as well as providing individual follow up consultations and other support as needed to the surrounding communities. For more information, contact attorney Kenna Giffin, at info@accionimmigration.org.

Primary Needs:

Central Convocation

St. Mark's Episcopal Church - Refugee Response

[San Antonio, TX] St. Mark's partners with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, the City of San Antonio, and other partners (social services and faith-based groups) to help arrange travel and to provide for the immediate needs of asylum seekers as they travel through San Antonio. For more information, contact the Rev. Ann Fraser, Associate Rector for Outreach, Pastoral Care, and Parish Life at St. Mark's, at afraser@stmarks-sa.org.

Primary Needs:

  • Volunteers to serve in San Antonio: to provide compassionate support with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, complete their online Volunteer Application.
  • Volunteers to serve in San Antonio: to assist with a clothing ministry for migrants in partnership with IWC, Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. To join St. Mark's, San Antonio's IWC volunteer team, contact the Rev. Ann Fraser.

Episcopal Church of Reconciliation - Backpack & Meals Ministry

[San Antonio, TX] Reconciliation assembles traveling lunches and backpacks for distribution to asylum seekers through the Interfaith Welcome Coalition in downtown San Antonio. For more information, contact Ron Graham, at ronnbetty@gmail.com.

Primary Needs:

  • Volunteers to serve in San Antonio: to make lunches, meet at Reconciliation every other Saturday at 9:45 a.m. Contact Ron for the next lunch packing date. To assemble backpacks, meet every Monday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at El Divino Salvador UMC (1701 W Woodlawn Avenue; San Antonio, TX 78201).
  • In-kind donations: backpack items or lunch supplies should be delivered to the Church of Reconciliation (8900 Starcrest Drive; San Antonio, TX 78217-4741). Click here for a list of needed items, updated June 2019.

Northern Convocation

St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church - Backpack Ministry

[Fredericksburg, TX] St. Barnabas' assembles backpacks for distribution to asylum seekers traveling through San Antonio, in partnership with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition. For more information, contact Nancy Cook, at ncook1001@gmail.com, or call St. Barnabas', Fredericksburg at (830) 997-5762.

Primary Needs:

  • Volunteers to serve in Fredericksburg: to assemble backpacks once a month at St. Barnabas' (601 W Creek Street; Fredericksburg, TX 78624-3117).
  • In-kind donations: backpack items should be delivered to St. Barnabas', Fredericksburg. Click here for a list of needed items, updated June 2019.

Northeastern Convocation

St. Francis by the Lake - Serving with Team Brownsville

[Canyon Lake, TX] St. Francis gathers small mission teams to serve with Team Brownsville, providing meals to asylum seekers on the Gateway International Bridge between Brownsville, TX and Matamoros, Mexico and serving at La Plaza Bus Station in Brownsville. For more information, contact Patricia Perea, at pereasearch@gmail.com.

Primary Needs:

  • Volunteers to serve in Brownsville: to prepare meals, serve meals on the bridge, or distribute shoe laces, toys, etc. in La Plaza Terminal with Team Brownsville. A current passport is mandatory to serve meals on the bridge.
  • Financial support: to help St. Francis purchase ingredients and supplies for the meals served with Team Brownsville. Checks should be made out to "St. Francis by the Lake" with "Team Brownsville donation" on the memo line, and then sent to St. Francis by the Lake (P.O. Box 3031; Canyon Lake, TX 78133-0023). An online donation form is available, via PayPal, for direct contributions to Team Brownsville at teambrownsville.org.
  • In-kind donations: donations of clothing, toiletries, and other supplies should be delivered to St. Francis (13250 FM 306; Canyon Lake, TX 78133). Click here for a list of needed items, updated June 2019.

St John's Episcopal Church

[New Braunfels] St. John's is working with Interfaith Welcome Coalition to provide lunches for asylum seeking families traveling through San Antonio and partnering with Team Brownsville and St. Francis by the Lake, Canyon Lake to feed asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico.

Primary Needs:

  • Financial support: to help purchase ingredients and supplies for the meals served with Team Brownsville and IWC.

Western Convocation

St. Philip's Episcopal Church - Backpack Ministry

[Uvalde, TX] St. Philip's assembles backpacks for distribution to migrants, primarily infants to seventeen year old youths being released from the detention center and traveling through Uvalde. The congregation also prepares and serves weekly outreach meals for local Border Patrol officers. For more information, contact the Rev. Mike Marsh, Rector of St. Philip's, at marshmk@stphilipsuvalde.org.

Primary Needs:

  • In-kind donations: backpack items should be delivered to St. Philip's (343 N Getty Street; Uvalde, TX 78801-4690). Click here for a list of needed items, updated June 2019. For information about ingredients needed for outreach meals, contact the Rev. Mike Marsh.

COVID-19 Update: Due to the ongoing pandemic, all in-person outreach services have been temporarily suspended. Contact immigration@dwtx.org for more information or to be notified upon the return to in-person outreach.

Other Ministry Partners

Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC)

[San Antonio, TX] IWC is an ecumenical, collaborative movement meeting the changing needs of asylum seekers, refugees and at-risk immigrants. Multiple Episcopal churches participate in its various ministries (see above).

Primary Needs:

  • Volunteers in San Antonio: Click here to complete their online, volunteer application to serve at the San Antonio Greyhound Bus Station, San Antonio International Airport, or Migrant Overnight Shelter at Travis Park Church.

City of San Antonio - Department of Human Services

[San Antonio, TX] The Department of Human Services (DHS) is coordinating a Migrant Resource Center with IWC, and other non-profit organizations, across from the downtown Greyhound Bus Station (400 N St Mary's Street, 78205) to support legal migrants arriving in San Antonio as they continue their journeys to sponsors across the country. Volunteers are needed to greet arriving families, translate travel information, serve food, and connect individuals to available resources.

Basecamp Team

A Basecamp Team has been created to facilitate communication between immigration ministries within the diocese, as well as provide resources and support. To join the Basecamp Team, or submit your ministry for inclusion in the list above, contact immigration@dwtx.org.

World Missions Initiatives

Pray, Give, Go! - For decades, the diocese has sent mission teams into the countries from which many are fleeing today, seeking to sustainably improve the health, education and living conditions of vulnerable populations. For information about supporting and participating in ongoing World Mission initiatives and sustainable development projects in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, as well as other countries world-wide, visit the World Mission Department web page.

News

Local News & Information

National News

Additional Resources from The Episcopal Church and Others

Educational Resources

  • Response to the Border: Education and Advocacy, a compilation of resources and actions from The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries in response to the needs at the border and the unaccompanied children in detention; updated as more resources become available.
  • "Listen and Learn: Border Advocacy and Ministry," recording of the online seminar co-hosted by the Episcopal Public Policy Network and Episcopal Migration Ministries with guest speaker Bishop Michael Hunn of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, on July 2, 2019. Covers current US policies related to the border, first hand accounts of The Episcopal Church's response to humanitarian needs, and brief question and answer segment.
  • Migration, Refugees, & Immigration, from The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations
  • Ten Actions You Can Take to Accompany Undocumented Immigrants, a backgrounder with suggested actions to support undocumented immigrants in your community. Included are links to further information, from The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations.
  • "No Longer Strangers" / "Ya No Son Extranjeros," English and Spanish language study resource for individual or groups, to encourage prayerful reflection and respectful discussion about migration/immigration issues through the lens of scripture and shared Christian values, published by Forward Movement. More information and resources available at forwardmovement.org/NoStrangers.
  • Partners in Welcome, the online learning and networking community from Episcopal Migration Ministries, that individuals may join to engage with others across the Church who are committed to the work of supporting refugees and asylum-seekers.
  • Immigrant Resources, from the City of San Antonio's Department of Human Services
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Refugee Resettlement, from the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Contact

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